Sponsors aplenty for marketable athletes but sadly none racing to Hafizh’s help


Lone Malaysian competitor: Hafizh Syahrin is riding for the Dutch-based NTS RW Racing GP team in Moto2 this year.

IT is just fascinating to follow the unlimited potential young tennis player Emma Raducanu has unleashed with her stunning US Open triumph recently.

The British teenager could potentially earn up to £100mil (RM571mil) through lucrative sponsorship deals and endorsements.

Brands are reportedly lining up to secure off-court deals if Raducanu can show that her stunning Grand Slam win as a qualifier, which nobody has pulled off before, is no fluke.

The 18-year-old took home £1.8mil (RM10.3mil) in prize money for the title, dwarfing the US$303,000 (RM1.24 million) she had earned previously during her short career.

According to Forbes business magazine, tennis players dominate the richest sportswomen rankings with the nine highest paid female athletes in the world all being tennis players.

It is not just her talent but her dynamic background that spells out the potential for global stardom.

Her father is Romanian. Her name is Romanian and she speaks Romanian fluently but surprisingly, she has never lived in Romania.

Raducanu’s mother is Chinese. She speaks fluent Chinese, as a recent video that went viral in China shows. Hence she is considered a Chinese hero by millions of Chinese.

The fact is Raducanu was born in Canada but has lived most of her life and trained in the United Kingdom.

Hence she is considered British by most Britons and was publicly congratulated by the Queen.

In a nutshell, she is the result of the combination of Romanian talent, Chinese work ethics and a strong British sport infrastructure.

Raducanu represents the future of mankind where mixed race and culture are embraced with open arms.

It is the future of sports even in Malaysia where the national football team have already accepted naturalised citizens from Kosovo, France, Belgium and Gambia.

Sponsorships are not hard to come by given that football is the number one sport in the country and enjoys strong political patronage.

On the other hand, it will be a sad time when the lack of sponsorship results in Malaysia losing perhaps their best ever rider to grace the racing track.

Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah, who is still the only South-East Asian rider to race in MotoGP so far, has admitted that this year will be his last in the world championship.

Hafizh had been on his own the last two years without much help from private sponsors and can’t cope with his plight anymore.

It is a very competitive world out there in motor racing and Hafizh has had to resign himself to the fact that being talented can only go so far without strong financial assistance.

Hafizh has not had time to adjust, having switched to four different bikes over the last eight years.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Faizal Azumu has made a commitment to help the rider, acknowledging that it will be a waste to let him drop out of the world championship.

But until when does the government need to step in? There are many corporate companies out there who have the capability to answer the call for support.

Perhaps, the government can help by making the contributions from the corporate sector tax deductible for the sake of national interests.

Maybe then will the days come when athletes will not need to rely just on the government for help.

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