KUCHING May 7 — Sarawak Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Karim Rahman Hamzah should recommend diving queen Pandelela Rinong for a “Datuk” title from the state government in recognition of her winning a gold medal at the just concluded Fina World Cup in Tokyo, Japan, Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) secretary-general Julius Enchana said today.
He said Karim, who is also the Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister, should not consider the 28-year old Pandelela — a two-time Olympic medallist — as too young to receive the Datuk title.
“At the tender age of 25, Nicol David was conferred the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri award (DSPN) which carries the title Datuk by the Penang government in 2008, becoming the youngest recipient of the award,” he said in a statement.
“What is the difference between Pandalela’s success in diving and that of Nicol in winning gold medal in the squash championship in the past?
“Doesn’t Pandelela deserve a proper state recognition of her passion in sports and efforts she had to contribute for Sarawak?” he asked.
He said former badminton ace Datuk Lee Chong Wei was bestowed all kinds of honours and rewards during the peak of his badminton career.
He said Lee continued to be successful despite becoming a millionaire through the sports of badminton.
He also asked Karim if there had been a study being conducted to prove that giving many incentives would deter athletes from sustaining excellent performances.
“Were Nicol and Lee spoilt because of too much recognition for their achievements?” he asked.
Yesterday, Karim had said the state would accord some kind of reward to Pandelela for securing Malaysia’s first-ever gold medal at the Fina Diving World Cup.
However, he had said it was not good to always reward an athlete each time he or she won something.
“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,” he said, adding that the state government had its own ways to reward athletes for their successes in competitions.
Karim had said Pandelela was only 28 years old and it would be very difficult for her to interact normally outside when her friends start calling her Datuk.
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