Malaysian Diving queen Pandelela Rinong has insisted that having a sense of achievement to excel in sports and bring glory to Sarawak State and Malaysia as a whole are her motivation instead of being rewarded with titles such as Datukship.
Reacting to calls from many Sarawakians for her to be given a Datukship, the 28-year-old Olympian was announced that titles were not important for her as an athlete and also for her family.
" Everyone wants to excel in their field and I am no different, although in my opinion obtaining titles is not my objective as an athlete. I however accept any rewards or incentives given by the government with gratitude, " she said wain contacted today.
Pandelela also accepted any reward or incentive from the government as a blessing.
On the other hand, Pandelela felt that sponsorships were more important for her because as an athlete, she also needed to think about what she could do when she eventually retires one day.
" Sponsorships obviously will help athletes like me as it offers us additional income because it is part of our work as well. It will help us athletes when we retire," she said.
Pandelela had splashed her way to the gold medal in the women's 10m platform at the recent International Swimming Federation/Federation Internationale de natation (FINA) Diving World Cup 2021 and test event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
She is the first Malaysian to win a gold medal at the International Diving Competition.
Sarawak Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah had caught a lot of flak last week when he poured cold water on calls to award her with a Datukship.
He said that while the state would find ways to recognise Pandelela for her achievement, a Datukship might not be the best thing for Pandelela.
He revealed that he had received many calls from people asking if the state would accord her with the title but he was concerned about how it could affect her.
" My reply was, she's only 28 years old, don't spoil her life. I mean can you imagine someone in their 20s having a Datukship? It will be very difficult for her to interact normally outside when you have friends outside, they call you Datuk and things like that.
" I mean let her enjoy her life first. The monetary contribution from the state government will come, but we don not want to highlight it too much. We could want her to bring us more fame and for her to enjoy the sport that she loves," he said.
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@ Jackie San