MIRI (August 11): A national newspaper’s report that the country’s diving queen, Datuk Pandelela Renong, has returned from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games “empty-handed” is biased and humiliating for the country’s athlete said Persatuan Anak Sarawak Melaka Chairman Dato Wan Zain Syed Modzar.
He added that there were also other Malaysian athletes who had not won any medals, but the criticism seemed to be aimed only at the athlete from Sarawak.
“As Sarawakians, of course, we are called to defend Datuk Pandalela because she gave her best but the performance of athletes from other countries was better during the competition,” he said. Borneo Post.
He said the newspaper should not have used such words, as if the diving queen had made no contribution or achievement for the country before that.
“I hope the national newspaper will openly apologize because the headline ‘Pandelela pulang tangan kosong’ (Pandelela returns empty-handed) is like an insult that has hurt the feelings of Sarawakians,” he said.
The newspaper has since changed the title of its online report to “Pandelela sudah beri terbaik” (Pandelela did his best).
Wan Zain added that every athlete has their ups and downs, so all Malaysians must give them their continuous support to motivate them to stay competitive.
“Not all athletes can maintain their good performances because they also have weaknesses and they can also make mistakes.
“Just like Datuk Pandalela, she not only works hard to keep up her good performances, but also competes with other international-level athletes,” he said.
In this regard, he hopes that all media professionals in the country will be more fair and impartial in their reporting so as not to touch such sensitivity.
Earlier this week, Minister of Youth, Sports and Entrepreneurship Development Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah also expressed his displeasure with the original title of the report.
The Minister felt that the title seemed to insinuate that Pandelela was not as good as before.
“Athletes should not be treated like sugar cane, useful when it is still sweetened and thrown away when it has been used for lees. This is not how we treat national athletes who have contributed so much to the world of national sports before.
“We have to understand that in the world of sport, the performance of an athlete is uncertain. Sometimes it goes up and sometimes it goes down,” he said to explain his reaction.