A sportswoman brings us pride, politicians only shame us

 by Zainal Yunos

QUICK TAKE: National diver Pandelela Rinong has been making waves at the national and international arenas. She is one Malaysian whom we are very proud of.

The Sarawakian has brought pride, honour and prestige home to our nation, Malaysia. As a fellow Sarawakian, I am most proud indeed to sing her praises. She deserves all the accolades showered upon her.

But can we say the same of our politicians, especially our leaders at national level including our ministers? I don’t think so.

I’m sure that Sarawakians overseas are proud to tell others that they are from Sarawak. Well, at least they can say that they are from the Land of the Hornbill and … Pandelela Rinong.

I know for a fact that many Malaysians overseas are actually ashamed to let others know that they are from Malaysia.

This is one example. A cousin who is studying in Australia mentioned to me recently that whenever she was asked casually by new friends and associates where she comes from, she would reply “Singapore”.

This is because many of us are now ashamed to be known as Malaysians. Several events of the past few years have tainted our nation in the eyes of foreigners – so much so that Malaysia is no longer respected overseas.

Surely, there is no necessity for me to go into detail of the shameful Malaysian episodes which have brought the nation and us to our knees. Many will surely know what I’m talking about.

So it is left to our sportsmen and sportswomen to salvage some pride for us abroad.

Where political leaders have brought us shame, our sports people have given us some consolation.

So let me pay tribute to my fellow Sarawakian, Pandelela Rinong, today for being recognised as a dedicated and disciplined sportsperson.

Our national diver was crowned the SAM-100Plus 2015 Athlete of the Year on April 13 in Kuala Lumpur.

The 23-year-old Sarawakian defeated four other nominees including national badminton champion Lee Chong Wei; national squash queen Nicol David; world silat champion Mohd Al-Jufri Jamari and wushu exponent, Loh Jack Chang in a voting process by members of the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM).

The award was the third for the 2012 London Olympics bronze medalist after having clinched the award in 2010 and 2012.

Pandelela who is now in action at the third FINA Diving World Series in Windsor, Canada, described the victory as a morale booster for her to seek honours to the country at the international arena.

“I am very happy with the win and it would empower me to perform better in every championship and the Olympics in Rio,” she said via a video conference at the ceremony, The Rakyat Postreported.

Pandelela was awarded a trophy and RM10,000 cash by Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi while Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia general manager Yan Kong Lee received the award on her behalf.

Among Pandelela’s best achievements in 2015 were a bronze medal in the individual 10m platform event at both the FINA Diving World Series in Windsor Canada and the 16th FINA World Aquatic Championships in Kazan, Russia.

-The Ant Daily

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