Thursday, January 3, 2008

SEA Games: Rewards for gold

PUTRAJAYA: It was a huge payout for the swimmers and divers. But rhythmic gymnast Chrystal Lim emerged as the biggest individual winner of the rewards given out under the athlete incentive scheme for the SEA Games in Korat last month.

A total of RM376,000 were handed out to gold medallists of the Games in a glittering ceremony in Putrajaya yesterday.

Attending the function in appreciation of the efforts of the national athletes were Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Only gold medallists get rewarded under the scheme at the SEA Games level and Chrystal's four-gold medal performance earned her RM16,250.

Chrystal won three of the four individual finals – rope, clubs and ribbon. The 19-year-old was also part of the gold medal-winning, who include Foong Seow Ting, Wan Siti Haniza Wan Izahar and Jaime Lee Yoke Jeng.

She is the third Malaysian to win four gold medals in SEA Games rhythmic gymnastics after Durratun Nashihin Rosli (2003 Hanoi) and Seow Ting (2005 Manila).

And her outstanding performance in Korat is something to cherish forever. Chrystal has decided to quit the sport to concentrate on her studies.

“I had never won a SEA Games gold medal prior to this and I never expect to do so in Korat.

“I will be going for further studies and the money will definitely help me in my studies,” said Chrystal, who is keen to pursue a career in graphic design.

The other big winners were equestrian rider Mohd Qabil Ambak Mohd Fathil and diver Yeoh Ken Nee – taking home RM12,500 each.

Qabil was the individual gold medallist for Malaysia in dressage and show jumping. He was also part of the Malaysian winning team in both disciplines.

Ken Nee became the first diver to achieve a sweep of all three springboard gold medals in a SEA Games diving competition. He won the 1m and 3m individual springboard events and partnered Rossharisham Roslan to victory in the synchronised competition.

Swimmers Daniel Bego and Khoo Cai Lin also received handsome rewards – RM12,000 each for their Games record-breaking feats. Besides the RM5,000 for a gold, both swimmers also collected an additional RM1,000 for each record broken.

Daniel retained his 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly titles while Cai Lin stamped her marks in the 400m and 800m freestyle.

Altogether, aquatics emerged as the biggest medal contributor for Malaysia with a total of 14 gold medals and their athletes were rewarded with a total of RM74,000.

The next big winners were the karate exponents, who took home a total of RM40,000. Karate contributed eight gold medals, doubling the target set for them by the National Sports Council.

Asian Championships gold medallist Lim Yoke Wai was the biggest winner for karate.

He received RM10,000 for winning the individual and Open events, the first exponent to do so at a SEA Games competition.

The Star

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