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Call for proper long-term planning for national athletes
KUCHING: Fans of Sarawak diving queen Pandelela Rinong may still be in a celebratory mood over her impressive Olympic bronze medal feat but there are numerous calls for the government to formulate proper long-term planning for national athletes through a collaboration with corporate bodies.
National Service Council chairman Datuk Dr Tiki Lafe said today the Youth and Sports Ministry should take into account, not only the need to provide
coaches and training venues, but also financial resources as most of these athletes have to support their families.
"Right now, the government should not only give incentives but also provide them full employment. Then, they can concentrate on training, otherwise, we can
never expect good athletes who can excel as the world stage," Dr Tiki who is also Mas Gading Member of Parliament told reporters when announcing a luncheon in honour of Pandelela at her village, Kampung Jugan in Bau, about 40km from here, on Aug 27.
Citing the fate of two former athletes from Sarawak - national boxer Sapok Biki, winner of a gold medal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games and national
sprinter Watson Nyambek, then dubbed as the "Flying Dayak" - he said, they had faded from sports scene due to financial constrains.
He said rural areas in Sarawak were not short of athletes with potential but the sports ministry should work with corporate bodies, especially those related
to sports, to adopt these athletes who had made their mark in the sports arena by providing sponsorship or signing them up as sports ambassadors.
The government with the support of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak could emulate the perks and conducive training facilities provided for full-time
athletes by China and South Korea, he said.
On the forthcoming programme at Kampung Jugan, where Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek would be presenting assistance in the form of sports equipment to local youth associations, he said, it was also being organised by the ministry in appreciation of Pandelela's family, kampung folk, local leaders and non-governmental organisations, for supporting the diver.
Ahmad Shabery, who is expected to announce some financial assistance for Pandelela's family, would be visiting her house, to assess the family's welfare
At the state level, the Sarawak government yesterday announced that three Olympians — Pandelela Rinong, Bryan Nickson Lomas and Traisy Vivien Tukiet -
would receive incentives totaling RM140,000 from the Ministry of Social Development and Dayak Cultural Foundation.
Pandelela will be rewarded with RM60,000 from the state ministry and another RM30,000 from the foundation. -- BERNAMA