What’s in a name? Plenty

  • Other Sport
  • Sunday, 21 Apr 2013

THE name Kingston Lee grabbed the headlines last week.

Who is he? Kingston is the first child of world No. 1 shuttler Lee Chong Wei.

Chong Wei, it seems, liked the sound of it and decided to pick that name. No special meaning to it, he said.

Two-time Olympic Game silver medallist Chong Wei’s former coach Misbun Sidek had named his son Misbun Ramdan bin Misbun. Why? So that the same name will be passed on from generation to generation.

Others have their own reasons for choosing names.

Names, however, have gotten me into trouble before. I will not forget Ethiopian long distance runner Haile Gebrselassie. I got the two-time Olympic Game gold medallist’s name wrong several times in a year-ender article and received an earful as long as his name from my editor.

In a rush to meet deadlines, there had been typo errors too like in Shalin Zulkifli’s name. It had seen print as Zulfikli. My apologies, Shalin! Then, there is this one name that I just could not get it right until now.

After covering Chong Wei’s first All-England victory in 2010 in Birmingham, I visited a friend in Wales. She and her husband took me to a small village on the island of Anglesey. It is called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Yes, you heard it right.

I was told that it is the longest name for a place in Europe. It seems there is another one that is even longer in Thailand. Thank goodness, none of our athletes have such long names! Choosing and picking a name is one thing; having a laugh about its uniqueness is another; and living up to it is totally a different thing.

But calling one all kinds of names with malice is something that is gripping the world of Malaysian sport.

Ironically, the mud slinging usually rears its ugly head just before the elections.

How many times have we heard of officials from some of the National Sports Association (NSA) belittling one another and calling them names? It has even led some disgruntled and aggrieved parties taking matters to courts – to clear their names, so to speak.

Next month, the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) annual general meeting (AGM) will take place during the Sudirman Cup. Hopefully, no surprise proxy names will emerge.

It will be followed with the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) election to find a replacement for their outgoing president Datuk Seri Nadzmi Mohd Salleh. Let’s hope the new name will do even a better job.

Nadzmi is now the acting president of the Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC) but the manner he was appointed through an emergency general meeting (EGM) in Bangkok last month struck a wrong chord with some parties.

There are moves now to challenge the whole procedure in court. Let’s hope in the good name justice will prevail.

And then there is this mother of all elections in the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) on June 22. Sadly, there are already moves to undermine several long-serving names in the governing body.

Unlike the upcoming 13th General Election (GE13) in our nation where all kinds of dirty tactics and high-handedness are used to mar one’s names, one would expect some form of fair play in the world of sport in their election process.

It has always been drummed into the heads of the athletes to be competitive and doing it in the right spirit of the game. Keep the country’s name flying high.

The onus is on the voters to have the wisdom to choose or remove the leaders by judging them based on facts and truth and not by baseless accusations.

Hopefully, the old or new leaders, when chosen, will maintain a good name of their respective associations.

The writer is sometimes addressed as Mr Rajes Paul via e-mails, telephone calls and letters but she is quite cool about it. Her focus now is to vote for the right name at GE13 in Nibong Tebal.

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