Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth, and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has expressed concern that handing out too many rewards will "not be good" for national athletes
The Borneo Post reported that the minister said this in response to questions asking if the state will reward national diver Pandelela Rinong for her historic gold medal win at the recent FINA Diving World Cup.
"This is because 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 also wrote on his official blog.
However, he assured that Sarawak will accord some kind of reward to the diver.
Abdul Karim revealed that he had received phone calls asking if the state government will confer the two-time Olympic medallist a Datukship in recognition of her sporting achievements
"My reply to them was, she is only 28 years old and we should not spoil her," he said.
The minister explained, "Can you imagine someone in their 20s having a Datukship? It will be very difficult for her to interact normally outside."
"What I have meant is to let Pendelela (sic) enjoy her life. The monetary contribution from the state government will come, but we do not want to highlight it too much. We would want her to bring us more fame and for her to enjoy the sport that she loves."
Even so, the minister congratulated the diver and credited her for the success in creating interest among younger Sarawakians in the sport
He said the state is hoping that these young athletes will continue to create a name for themelves in state and national circuits to come.
"I hope with this latest gold medal achieved by Pandelela, it will create more interest in diving as well as other water sports."