KUALA LUMPUR: The national women bowlers – the world champions – were left appalled and shocked yesterday when the National Sports Council (NSC) announced their rewards for winning the team gold medal in the World Championships.
Instead of the expected RM80,000 – the NSC incentive for world class events – the bowlers were told that they would get only RM24,000.
The NSC handed out RM4,400 each to the six- woman team - Shalin Zulkifli, Sarah Yap, Wendy Chai, Sharon Chai and Choy Poh Lai and reserve Lai Kin Ngoh – during yesterday’s flag-handing ceremony for the Malaysian contingent to the Vietnam SEA Games.
The Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) believe there has been a big mistake and will immediately send a letter to NSC to seek clarification.
But they are in for another disappointment. NSC international athletes preparation director Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said the RM24,000 was all the bowlers would get.
“Bowling is not an Olympic sport and under our scheme, it is listed under Category B. This is the amount given for a team event under this category,” Shapawi said.
The decision will come as a big disappointment for the five, who became the first Malaysian team to win at the World Championships, ending a 24-year wait for a gold medal at the meet.
Sarah, Wendy and Shalin said they were shocked. Said Wendy, “At first, we thought that we had heard it wrongly. We really thought that we would get RM80,000. This was the amount reported in the papers.
Sarah said, “I really thought that it was a mistake and NSC would rectify it later. One gold medal in the SEA Games is worth RM5,000. Certainly, we would not be getting less for winning a gold medal in the world meet.
Shalin had more reason to show her disbelief. “I was a medallist in the last two World Championships. In 1995 in Reno, I won a silver in the trios (with Lisa Kwan and Lydia Kwah) and NSC gave us RM40,000 as incentive.
“In Abu Dhabi (1999), I won three silver medals and I received RM100,000. Naturally, I expected the same calculations to be used. I was surprised when we got just RM4,400.”
MTBC secretary Sidney Tung said they had listed the World Championships, held once every four years, as their premier event under the NSC scheme.
Under the scheme, the gold medallists of a world event are entitled to take home RM80,000. The silver and bronze medallists will be given RM40,000 and RM20,000 respectively.
“I will send a letter to NSC on this matter,” said Sidney. “Early this year, our men's and women's team emerged as the champions in the World Tenpin Team Cup. But it was not listed under the NSC scheme and we accepted it.
“But as token of appreciation, each of the bowlers received RM4,000 from the government,” said Sidney.
Besides the bowlers, cyclist Jamaluddin Amiruddin received RM$14,000 for winning two bronze medals in the Asian Junior Cycling Championships in South Korea three months ago.
Body builder Sazali Abdul Samad also pocketed RM5,000 for finishing second in the lightweight category at the Asian Body Building Championships in Kazakhstan this year.