WELL it looks like Sarawak’s diving queen Pandelela Rinong could soon receive a Datukship!
Imagine what an honour it would be if this 19-year-old from Bau is given the title of Datuk!
It would certainly be extremely well deserved.
The Ministry of Social Development is apparently backing the idea.
“This is truly a proud moment for Sarawak. I am glad that the country has a Sarawak born and bred world class athlete,” Minister of Social Development Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom is quoted as saying.
“We are absolutely proud of her achievement. Pandelela proved that through hard work, commitment and discipline, she can break through and break new frontiers no matter what the odds are. We are proud of Pandelela,” said Samariang assemblywoman Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali.
Now badminton world No. 1 Datuk Lee Chong Wei and world No. 1 squash player Datuk Nicol David both received their titles from their home state of Penang in 2008.
Nicol was 25 at the time and the youngest to be conferred the Datukship there.
I don’t know what the age record is for Sarawak, but if Pandelela did get a Datukship, she would definitely be one of the youngest or probably the youngest to get such an honour.
In 2010, Pandelela already received the Ahli Bintang Sarawak (ABS), which is ranked 18th among the State’s 21 awards.
If she were to get a Datukship, it could possibly be the Panglima Setia Bintang Sarawak (PSBS), which carries the title Dato.
It is awarded to those with outstanding service and contributions to the State in various fields. To receive this award, a person must have excelled in various fields such as economic, social, political or technological and have brought about changes leading to the development of the State.
Well Pandelela has definitely contributed to the development of the sport of diving in not only the State but Malaysia as well.
The PSBS is limited to 275 living recipients at any time.
Now again, I do not have any records of how many living recipients of the PSBS there are, but I am just guessing that if Pandelela is being considered for a Datukship by the State, this awards sounds like it could be the one.
For those of you thinking, what’s the big deal as Pandelela is not diving’s world No. 1, well let’s remember this.
Squash is recognised as an Olympic sport but is not a sport in the Olympics. Although played around the world, it is a minor sport, especially when you compare it to tennis.
Badminton has been a sport in the Olympics since 1992, but we have to admit to ourselves that it really only has a following in Asian countries and a few European ones such as Denmark (remember Morten Frost?).
Diving is one of the most popular sports among spectators of the Olympics. When diving is televised during the Olympics, the whole world watches.
The dominant countries are China, the US, Italy, Australia and Canada and the sport has a global following throughout Europe, the Americas, Oceania and Asia.
And Sarawak’s own Pandelela Rinong has competed with the best of them and still placed in the top three on several occasions.
Will she win an Olympic medal? It is definitely not going to be easy.
Can she win an Olympic medal? With the proper focus and training, if she is healthy and not carrying any injuries, and with the support of all of Sarawak and Malaysia, the possibility is there.
Let’s continue to pray for her. Shine on Anak Sarawak.
The Borneo Post’s report:
Datukship for Pandelela possible
By Matthew T Umpang
KUCHING: The chorus of support for Pandelela Rinong to be awarded a Datukship continues to grow.
During a phone-in interview with The Borneo Post yesterday, Social Development Minister Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom congratulated Pandelela on her success and calls for all Sarawakian athletes to emulate her success.
When asked on Pandelela’s eligibility for a Datukship, Mawan commented that he and his ministry is in full support on the subject.
He wants Pandelela to be duly recognised for bringing fame and glory to the state and nation.
“The federal government should give and grant her the title (Datukship).
“They need not wait for the state government to award it to her. After all, her achievements are on par with other national athletes who received the honour before this,” he explained.
Badminton world number one Lee Chong Wei, squash queen Nicol David and national football coach K. Rajagobal are all outstanding athletes representing Malaysia who were awarded the Datukship title.
Mawan added that the award should be given to outstanding athletes who represented the country. He sees Pandelela as the next eligible candidate and the title should give her added motivation to bring more glory to the country.
Pandelela received the Anugerah Bintang Sarawak (ABS) in 2010.
“This is truly a proud moment for Sarawak. I am glad that the country have a Sarawak-born and bred world class athlete,” Mawan said.
“We are absolutely proud of her achievement. Pandelela proved that through hardwork, commitment and discipline, she can breakthrough and break new frontiers no matter what the odds are. We are proud of Pandelela,” said political secretary to the Chief Minister and state assemblywoman for Semariang, Sharifah Hasidah.
Having to train with very limited facilities early in her career, Pandelela have managed to defy all odds to become the nation’s current number one female athlete.
Her latest achievement will go down in the annals of Sarawak’s history.
The success of the Bau native is also a true testament of the renowned Sarawakian fighting spirit.