In true Olympian spirit

The Olympiad should be a reminder that scores of our ex-national sportsmen and women deserve better recognition and honour.

IT was designed to depict spirit of our warriors at the 2012 London Olympics but the tiger-striped costume ended up looking patently garish.

Several fitting English words come to mind but the apt Malay one to describe the gaudy effect is carca marba.

Too many colours and features resulted in a jumble that made it to the list of outfits made fun of at the opening ceremony.

But to be fair, our garb wasn’t too bad when compared with the likes of Spain, Russia and Ukraine and we were not in Time mazagine’s rather biased “Best, the Worst, and Just Plain Weird” list.

The jury was unanimous on Spain’s attire, which one sports website described as “a cross between nerd chic and ’70s race car driver moonlighting as a porn star”.

The costume was designed for free by Russian brand Bosco, which also made the unpopular gear of Russia and Ukraine.

Unperturbed by critics, Spain’s Olympic Committee president Alejandro Blanco said: “When you measure the difference between 1.5mil (RM5.8mil) of public money and free clothes, there is no discussion.”

It has been reported that the Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation designed our tiger-themed costume but there was no mention of whether this was done with or without cost.

But why was a government body given the job? Shouldn’t all talented Malaysian designers be given a chance to create it through an open contest?

The same should have been the case for designs involving National Day logos and slogans, as done in the past.

The ditched hodge-podge Merdeka Day logo is a classic example of why politicians and officials should not be given cartes blanches to decide on occasions or events crucial to national unity.

When Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak took over as Prime Minister in 2009, among the noteworthy things that he said was: “The days of the Government knows best are over”.

It seems that some dinosaurs in the system still don’t get it.

But to come back to the Olympics, Malaysia has already made the headlines – for offering the richest rewards.

In addition to the RM1mil for a gold medal offered by the Govern­ment, a local furniture firm has pledged a matching RM1mil.

And if the medal comes from badminton, there would be another RM2mil, in the form of 12.5kg gold bar, from KL Racquet Club owner Datuk Seri Andrew Kam, who also owns a gold mine.

Olympian Ng Joo Pong hopes that the offer of millions can motivate our athletes into winning that elusive first gold medal but feels that the spirit of competing for national honours is more important.

by Veera Pandiyan.

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