Rich Engelhorn, College of Education, (515) 294-8131
Cathy Curtis, College of Education, (515) 294-8175
Kevin Brown, News Service, (515) 294-8986
IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR COMPARES MALAYSIAN, UNITED STATES APPROACHES TO YOUTH SPORT
AMES, Iowa - An Iowa State University expert on youth sport is part of an American-Malaysian exchange program designed to explore cultural structures for managing youth sport programs.
Richard Engelhorn, an associate professor of health and human performance in the College of Education, returned from Malaysia this month with a United States delegation. The group met with officials from the Malaysia Olympic Council, government ministries and other sport program leaders.
The Malaysian sport structure differs considerably from those in the U. S., said Engelhorn, who also met with members of the Malaysian delegation during their visit to Ames in April.
"The Malaysians have a strong sport culture and show great national pride in their most successful athletes," said Engelhorn. "The focus of most Malaysian sport programs, even at the secondary school level, is on the elite athlete. The most promising young Malaysian athletes have many opportunities for training and coaching, similar to our Olympic training features, but there is little focus on mass participation.
"They want to provide more opportunities for children to be active," said Engelhorn. "We [Americans] have more volunteerism, especially at the lower levels of sport."
"Understanding the cultural differences and their effect on the organization of youth sport programs was one of the challenges for the U.S. delegation," said Engelhorn. "Parents' views of the importance of sport for children are not the same as in the U.S. and are affected by religion and the emphasis on education."
The exchange was coordinated by the Iowa affiliate of the Amateur Athletic Union, with a grant from the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
© 1995-2003, Iowa State University of Science and Technology. All rights reserved.