Former athletics coach Jaganathan begins new role in academics

KUALA LUMPUR: Former national athletics coach R. Jaganathan(pix) has embarked on a new chapter in his career, although one he’s not entirely unfamiliar with.

Jaganathan, whose contract as the national para athletics squad head coach wasn’t renewed by the National Sports Council (NSC) last December, has landed the role of Associate Professor at the Faculty of Sport Science, Wilmington Metropolitan University (Malaysian Chapter).

The 64-year-old said his main aim would be to help school leavers, especially from the sports schools who didn’t do well in their studies, to pursue a career in the sports industry by earning a diploma or a degree.

“After my contract with the NSC expired, I was holding talks in universities and schools. Then, I got this opportunity. We will be starting with the Sports Business Administration, and later introduce other programmes, like Sports Entrepreneurship and Teaching.

“Though I was a coach and worked as a senior executive in Maybank till 2012, this is totally a different role and world for me dealing with academicians. I wanted to share how sports can help school leavers, especially from sports schools, to move up in life,” he said when met during the university’s sports carnival here, today.

Jaganathan has about 40 years of experience in coaching, including having helped para sprinter Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi win gold medals at the World Championships and Paralympics.

He initially coached able-bodied athletes, including M. Ramachandran, the former middle distance runner who is the holder of the national records in 5,000 metres (m) and 10,000m for close to three decades, before taking charge of the national para squad in 2001.

Meanwhile, QEW Education Sdn Bhd chairman Prof Dr Nagarajah Lee said Jaganathan’s role would be more in an advisory capacity to draw up the right curriculum and design the right teaching modules and assessments.

“Our philosophy is not purely academic, we are an industry-based university, meaning that the priority is on industrial training. Only 30 per cent is campus-based, while 70 per cent is industry-based, or work-based learning programmes.

“The Sports Science Faculty is meant for people interested in sports, not just an academic qualification, but various knowledge in sports-related activities,” he added.

Also present at the sports carnival was, former Zambian 800m runner Prince Mumba, who had competed at the 2004 and 2012 Olympics and three World Championships (in 2005, 2009, and 2011).

During his keynote speech to some 100 sports school pupils, Mumba shared that discipline and dedication were the most crucial aspects to becoming a successful athlete.-Bernama