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Sarawak leaders back call for Pandelela to be rewarded

Kuching – It is still a good idea for national diving queen Pandelela Rinong to be honoured with honorific title such as Datukship since she has delivered pride, glory and fame to the country, said Tasik Biru assemblyman Datuk Henry Harry Jinep.

“We have observed and seen very obvious comments from the majority are inclined towards that.

“So, if the majority are supportive towards Datukship award then it is fair to give due consideration,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Henry nonetheless stressed there are certain procedures and requirements to be followed when nominating or recommending someone for such an award.

“Of course, we cannot demand. We can suggest and nominate or recommend but it is up to the leaders to decide.

“If at the age of 28 she is considered matured enough and able to carry the title (Datuk), so why not consider her for the title,” he said.

He was also confident that more rewards and incentives will not distract Pandelela from excelling in her sport, as demonstrated by her when being rewarded by the government and the corporate sector for her past achievements.

He believed Pandelela’s achievements were due to her strong determination and focus to achieve something great at the international stage for both Sarawak and Malaysia.

“From the past record, we can see she has been awarded for all the achievements she has achieved. These came from the government, the private sector, the individuals and the corporate sector who have rewarded her handsomely by giving cash and kind, while the State Aquatic Centre has been named after her.

“And yet despite all these, Pandelela lived to her high standards. She has stayed focused, determined and become stronger to live to her standard and to deliver the gold medal that she won last week in Tokyo, Japan.

“So looking at that history, no matter how much you reward her, no matter how much you put her name up, she lived the way she is focusing on her aspiration to be world champion and she has achieved that at the age of 28,” said Henry.

He also pointed out that more rewards for Pandelela will be a just recognition for her more than 20 years of pain, hardship and probably mental stress to reach her present level.

“I think that we have to look at it on case to case basis. Rewarding her more I think is worth considering. In looking at her case, we cannot compare her with other athletes because different athletes have different ways with being rewarded.

“At the age of 28, there are not much years for her to deliver. And I think this is the best moment in time to do it, we do not know what’s next. In the meantime, we hope that she will continue and not be distracted by so many comments on social media. Let’s make sure that she stays focused before the Tokyo Olympics,” he added.

Pandelela had been quoted as saying having a sense of achievement to excel in sports and bringing glory to Sarawak and Malaysia as a whole are her motivation instead of being rewarded with titles such as a Datukship.

Reacting to calls from many Sarawakians for her to be given a Datukship, the 28-year-old Olympian had said that titles were not important for her as an athlete and also 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 was quoted as saying.

Pandelela had also mentioned 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.

On May 5, Pandelela had splashed her way to the gold medal in the women’s 10m platform at the recent International Swimming Federation/ Fédération 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.

Up next for Pandelela and her national team mates will be the Tokyo Olympic Games scheduled for July 23 to August 8.

Pandelela became the first Malaysian women to win an Olympics medal after she won bronze at the 2012 London Olympic Games in the women’s individual 10 metre platform.

Four years later, she also won the silver medal in the 10 metre synchronised platform with Cheong Jun Heong at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. — Borneo Post

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