Last Saturday, The Star newspaper published an article on our Malaysian cyclists being gagged from talking to the media until their events were over.
Soon later, a reply purportedly from John Beasley, Malaysia's Head Coach Track Cycling, surfaced on social media. Whether or not it was for real, the story highlighted one of the most common faults of newspaper writers: the lack of doing some or a bit of homework before attending media conferences. I should know, because although I don't speak much to the press people, I've met several of them who had simply asked basic instead of probing questions.
Not that I blame them, of course, because their news editor could have given them the assignment only the evening day before - or worse, on the morning itself - but a bit of homework or background check would have put the occasion into its proper perspective.
But this purported reply from Beasley is worthy of reproducing here in full:
Good afternoon Phuah, I am sorry you feel that way, I just read your story and it is very typical of the Malaysian press. I gave you full access to the athletes during the press conference though very few questions were asked, why? Because you guys don't do your homework, why is it that the Malaysian press come to press conferences without doing their homework? All the performance data is out there accessible on the net and yet still you ask us what is your records?
Further more we get asked the same old questions every time we are interviewed. I think it's you guys that need a big kick in the back side to do some preparation before coming to interviews. I can only speak for cycling here and honestly you guys call your self professional, it's more like a holiday as there is rarely a story worthy of reading as there is no substance in your stories.
The Malaysian press are like a broken record, we are always open and available to you guys. Let me point out one fact, you got the opportunity to speak to us when we arrived, where is that content, Oh sorry I had a moment lapse of memory, you did not ask many questions did you? if you ask me it is your fault. Yes, we train over sea's, I have been well noted for pointing out the reasons why and this is only to give your athletes their best chance to perform on the big stage,
We also educate them off shore also something you guys need a lot more schooling on. We are at the Olympic games, do you know what that means? We are racing the best of the best from all around the world, every body is a champion that has just qualified to make the games team. Most athletes train a life time and never get to represent their country, though in Malaysia that is not good enough for you guys, our athletes you have the hide to call them failures, what is wrong with you people.
Regardless of what happens here in Rio we have left no stone unturned on our journey to get here and we have provided Malaysia with some great results over our journey, now grow up and let us get on with doing our job.
John Beasley Head Coach Track Cycling