KUALA LUMPUR: The national women bowlers have got it wrong on the rewards they deserve for winning the team gold at the World Championships. But the National Sports Council (NSC) may consider giving the bowlers a little extra and not hold the recent outcry against them.
The bowlers had been shocked when they were only given RM24,000 for winning the gold at the World Championships in September. They had received more for lesser achievements before that.
Yesterday, after going through their records, the NSC said they had never made payouts to the national bowlers based on the incentive scheme which offers the RM80,000-RM40,000-RM20,000 scale for gold, silver and bronze at the World Championships.
NSC international athletes preparation division director Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said: We reviewed our incentive scheme before the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and since then, bowling was included in the non-Olympic category together with squash, karate, sepaktakraw and wushu.
Under this category, they are entitled to RM20,000-RM10,000-RM5,000 for doing exceptionally well in world competitions.
The trios of Shalin Zulkifli-Shirley Chow and Lisa Kwan received only RM10,000 for winning a silver at the 1995 World Championships in Reno.
Shapawi, however, said the bowlers received additional money following their three silver medals feat in the 1999 World Championships due to a special consideration after a protest was made by the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC).
At the 1999 world meet in Abu Dhabi, Shalin won silver medals in the singles and All-Events. Shalin and Sarah Yap also won a silver in the doubles.
We initially gave Shalin RM25,000 (RM10,000 each for the singles and All-Events silver and RM5,000 for the silver in the doubles) and Sarah RM5,000 based on our scheme. But the MTBC appealed for higher rewards. Under the NSC scheme, the Youth and Sports Minister can make a special approval.
We made an exception for bowling and wushu that year because of their outstanding achievements.
The bowlers then enjoyed the scale of RM50,000-RM25,000-RM13,000. Instead of giving out a total of RM25,000, Shalin received a total of RM62,500 while Sarah got RM12,500. Ho Ro Bin had also won a gold for the first time in the World Championships and he received RM50,000.
At junior level, however, there is no separation of Olympic and non-Olympic sports under the scheme. All sports enjoy a RM40,000-RM20,000-RM10,000 payout.
Shapawi said that MTBC had again sent a letter of protest over the recent poor payout.
The same scenario is taking place here again. We have received a letter from the MTBC claiming, their bowlers have been enjoying the scheme for Olympic sport (RM80,000-RM40,000-RM20,000). We will tell them that this is not true. But we will consider their appeal.
Shapawi added that the NSC appreciated sports that brought honour and glory for the country.
We are proud of the national bowlers achievement. I want the athletes not to be too worried about this incentive scheme. What they have received is more than sufficient. The government, after all, has done so much especially for the World Bowling Championships this year. They came to the rescue to cut the organising cost and also helped with the promotion of the event, he said.
We might give more after considering their appeal. If they get it, then they should consider it as a bonus.
The status of competitions keeps on changing. For example, the All-England was not under the scheme but it was a big achievement for the country when we won it.
And the minister stepped in to make special approval.
We are currently in the process of reviewing our incentive scheme. We hope our improved scheme, which will be introduced next year, will clear the air on what an athlete deserves for winning honours for the country.