Thursday July 12, 2012
Entire nation will be rooting for you, Najib tells Olympians
By S. RAMAGURU and ERIC SAMUEL
PUTRAJAYA: Go to London, give it your best, win the gold medal – and ample rewards await you.
That was the message from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to the London Olympic Games bound athletes at the flag handing over ceremony at the Perdana Putra Building here yesterday.
Diver Pandelela Rinong received the flag at the ceremony, which was witnessed by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the entire Cabinet.
Also present were chef-de-mission Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid, all Malaysian Olympic-bound athletes and Malaysian Paralympic athletes.
Pandelela will be Malaysia’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony on July 27.
The Malaysian athletes will head for London hoping to win the country’s first ever gold medal and Najib said that the entire nation will be rooting and praying for them.
“We may not be there physically but you be can rest assured that 27.5 million Malaysians will pray for you. They too want to see Malaysia win its first ever gold medal,” he said.
“The government has already promised each gold medallist a RM1mil reward. In addition, the gold medallists will also receive RM5,000 a month for life. Those who win a silver medal will get RM3,000 a month and the bronze medallist RM2,000 a month.”
The monthly payments would be akin a life-long pension scheme.
“As for the Paralympic athletes, the gold medal winner will be given RM300,000 while silver and bronze medallists will receive RM200,000 and RM100,000 respectively,” he said.
Shuttler Lee Chong Wei, who is Malaysia’s best hope of winning an Olympic gold medal, was also present at the ceremony.
The Malaysian contingent was later treated to a lunch with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.