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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Aug 4: The Sarawak government today announced a RM10,000 pocket allowance for each of the five Sarawakian para athletes who will be representing Malaysia at the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Paralympics scheduled for Aug 24 to Sept 5.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has agreed to the recommendation by Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah to increase the allowance for the para athletes.
“As for athletes who come home with medals, we will decide on the incentives later.
“So I congratulate all of them for being able to make it this far and also wish them the best at Tokyo as we all will pray for their success,” he said in a special address via Zoom today to boost the morale and spirit of the five Sarawakian athletes preparing to head to Tokyo.
The five Sarawakian athletes representing Malaysia at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics are powerlifters Bonnie Bunyau Guntin and Jong Yee Khie, swimmers Muhammad Nur Syaiful Zulkafli and Jamery Siga, as well as archer Wiro Juli.
Abang Johari pointed out that there is a bright future for Sarawakian athletes as the State government is committed to provide the facilities and resources to nurture the young athletes with potential.
“In the post-Covid-19 development for Sarawak, the government plans to build more training facilities not only for the use of normal athletes but also the para athletes.
“This is to provide the athletes with a better training environment with hopes that they can go further in their sporting careers especially to participate in more international games,” he said.
Thanking the coaches for all their efforts to train these athletes, Abang Johari is confident that with constant training and focus, the atheletes will deliver great performances when they compete at any event.
“We pray for their success but please take good care and protect yourself even when in Tokyo as Covid-19 still exists.
“We all hope you will be successful not only for Malaysia but also Sarawak. So go and enjoy the games in Tokyo,” he added.
Abang Johari also sent his best wishes to Sarawak diving princess Pandelela Rinong Pamn, who will be competing in the preliminary round in the individual women’s 10m platform diving event later at 2pm local time today.
Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah believes that the additional allowances and incentives will be a huge motivation and booster to the high spirited athletes to perform their best at the games.
Nur Syaiful in thanking the State government for the encouragement and assistance given, has urged all Sarawakians to give their prayers and extend their strong support for the athletes as they make their way to the Paralympic games.
“We will do our best at the Tokyo Paralympics for Malaysia, especially Sarawak. ‘Demi Malaysia, agi hidup agi ngelaban’,” the athletes called out in high spirits.
Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan, Assistant Minister of Community Well Being, Datuk Francis Harden Hollis, Assistant Minister for Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Rosey Yunus, and Sarawak para powerlifting coach Jamil Adam were among those at the virtual event. — DayakDaily