Pandelela Rinong has recently won Malaysia the first ever and only Gold medal in the women’s 10m platform final at the FINA Diving World Cup 2021. She had earned praises from all Malaysians as well as from Sarawak Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
In the press conference, he told The Star “I congratulate Pandelela for making Malaysia proud on the world stage by winning the first gold medal for our national squad this year.”
“Her achievement has done us all proud. It is a bonus for our national squad, particularly as our athletes had gone without any competitions after almost a year,” he added.
However, Abdul Karim has expressed concerns about handing out too many rewards will not be good for national athletes. In a statement he released on his blog, he wrote “This is because if we keep on thinking of giving rewards every time somebody gets a gold medal or achieves fame, it will not be good, also because athletes normally love their sport and they are passionate about what they are doing,”
However, he assured that Pandelela will receive rewards for her achievements.
According to Borneo Post, Abdul Karim said that he had received phone calls asking if the state government will confer Pandelela, the two-time Olympic medallist a Datukship in recognition of her sporting achievements, just like several other renowned athletes in Malaysia like Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Datuk Nicol David.
“My reply to them was, she is only 28 years old and we should not spoil her,” he said.
He explained “Can you imagine someone in their 20s having a Datukship? It will be very difficult for her to interact normally outside.”
“I mean let her enjoy her life. The monetary contribution from the state government will come, but we do not want to highlight it too much. We would want her to bring us more fame and for her to enjoy the sport that she loves,” he added.
Even so, Abdul Karim congratulated her and credited her for creating a lot of interest in diving among younger Sarawakians.
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