SPORTS event reporting and commentary have progressed so much and have become so specialised that TV presenters are usually allowed to act as commentators in events that they are good at or relevant to their field.
In fact, many presenters are ex-sportsmen or sportswomen, who can add depth in their commentary.
In Asia generally and in Malaysia particularly, viewing live telecast of sports events has become a favourite pastime but we have not seen very high-quality presentation and true professionalism in the presenters' approach compared with their Western counterparts.
We were served with below par commentary yet again during the live telecasts of the Thomas and Uber cup matches.
Close observation reveals some common and recurrent mistakes made by our presenters:
â€¢ Details and excessive description of ongoing action. The presenter does not realise that with so many cameras on site, TV viewers actually have better coverage than he or she at the courts. Of course, certain strokes or shots could be highlighted but it should not be done excessively;
â€¢ Too many comments with no actual meaning or “empty talk”. As a result, the presenter becomes too verbose when giving the running commentary instead of being more relaxed, focused and precise. Gillian Gowers should be the benchmark for badminton commentary; and
â€¢ Little or no on-court game analysis. Of course, this has something to do with the background of the presenter. A seasoned and knowledgeable one will comment and analyse the game well, so that the viewers can have a better understanding of the ongoing action. Sportsmen are no idiots; they have studied and discussed about their opponents well ahead of the game. A player may play net shots if that offers him a better chance to score points. We should not condemn him straight away when his attempt fails. Players who have misjudged the flight of the shuttle due to the draft or gazing floodlights are certainly not lalai (careless).
An avid tennis player once told me his game had actually improved after watching Wimbledon tennis.
A good analysis offers more insight into the games and benefits many viewers.
Another weakness is the inadequate background knowledge and research on players.
It will make the game more interesting if the audience has adequate background knowledge, i.e. the achievements of the team or the player's recent form.
I am sure the audience would like to hear about this during the interlude or even before the game starts.
Admittedly, Malaysian TV sports presentation has made some progress, albeit slowly.
RTM is heading in the right direction when they recently roped in sportsmen and sportswomen to be on the show.
One such personality is Razif Sidek during the badminton games and the more polished comments from him was most welcome by TV viewers.
Modern sports commentary is ever demanding and challenging.
It has to be clear, precise, informative and entertaining.
As discerning viewers become more and more sophisticated, sports commentators have no choice but to better equip themselves to do a better job.
DR LEE BAN SOON,