National paper’s headline on Pandelela leaves minister fuming


KUCHING: Minister for Youth, Sport and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah is upset with the negative headline from one of the nation’s newspapers about the country’s top diver Datuk Pandelela Rinong Pamg.

According to Abdul Karim, he found that the words used were inappropriate, which seemed to describe the Sarawakian world-beater as not good enough following her failure to bring home any medal from the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England recently.

“I was extremely disappointed when I read the headline of the news report from Berita Harian on Monday (Aug 8).

“She is one of our country’s top athletes and a national hero. I am not saying this because it is Pandelela or (when it’s about) Sarawak athletes.

“Even if it is other Malaysian athletes not from Sarawak, we should not treat our national heroes like that just because they did not win medals,” he said during a press conference after officiating the 9th Asian South Pacific Association of Sport Psychology (ASPASP) International Congress 2022 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching here on Tuesday (Aug 9).

Abdul Karim believed that Pandelela had tried her best at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and “mistakes happen, especially when the competition is fierce and tight.”

“I am still proud and praised all the commitment and efforts given by Pandelela, who trained so hard to prepare herself, just like all of our national athletes, for this competition, even though luck is not on her side this time.

“We have to understand that in the world of sports, there are ups and downs.”

Thus, I strongly believe that the headline is written in poor taste and that is not the right way to treat our national athletes who have previously contributed a lot to our nation,” he reiterated.
Pandelela is a two-time Olympian, and won a silver in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and a bronze in the 2012 London Games.
She has also won countless medals in competitions such as the FINA Diving World Series, FINA Diving World Championship, the Universiade, FINA Diving Grand Prix, Southeast Asian Games, Youth Olympic Games, FINA Diving World Cup and Asian Games.
At the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games, she took home one gold and one silver. Four years later at the Glasgow Games, she won a silver and a bronze.

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