Monday, September 02, 2013

National Anthem And Flag: Symbols Of Inspiration For Athletes

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 (Bernama) -- Yesterday the nation celebrated its 56th independence anniversary.

Various events were held to commemorate the special day which brought the people of various races together in a show of loyalty and patriotism.

In this context, the athletes have an equally important role to play in defending national honour and creating glory for all Malaysians to celebrate.

This is all in the spirit of sportsmanship and patriotism for the entire nation.

Thus it was not surprising that Malaysians all over the country cheered for Datuk Lee Chong Wei when he was challenging Lin Dan of China in the BWF World Badminton Championship early last month. Although Chong Wei did not win, the entire nation had waited anxiously to hear the Negaraku being played in a foreign land and to see a Malaysian raise the world champion trophy.

For national squash queen, Datuk Nicol Ann David, listening to the national anthem being played after winning the 2010 Commonwealth Games squash gold medal was a moment she can never erase from her mind.

"The pride is truly there. I really feel the sense of belonging to the country where you were brought up. The feeling at time...I think there's no word to really describe how I felt at that time," she told Bernama.

Nicol said she was really touched to see the support of people from different races cheering her in the 1998 Commonwealth Games here when she was just 15-years-old.

"I think it was the ultimate feeling when we (Malaysian contingent) entered the stadium and the name Malaysia was announced.

"I don't think anything else can compare...knowing you are a part of the contingent which hosted the huge games. When the crowd roared...it was indescribably the best moment," said Nicol.

For national paralympic elite athlete Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli, his victory at a recent international meet, was his proudest moment.

"It never occurred to me, I would be capable of bringing glorify for the country in a world event when I am just a disabled person. From a nobody to a world champion," he said.

When he was garlanded the gold medal at the International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championship in Lyon, France in July, Muhammad Ziyad was overwhelmed.

"That was a special moment. I cried tears of joy while proudly looking at the national flag being hoisted. I sang along the Negaraku.

"In my category, there were only four Asian participants including me. When I won, many began asking about Malaysia. I knew I was a Malaysian ambassador and I am proud to be a Malaysian," he said.

Last year, Muhammad Ziyad was given the honour as the national flag bearer at the London Paralympic Games opening and closing ceremonies.

"It was a responsibility I assumed with pride as I am carrying the name of the nation in full view of the world," said Muhammad Ziyad, who won a bronze medal in his maiden attempt at the largest games for the disabled.

As such, national glories are celebrated irrespective of their battlefields and to the nation they are all heroes and warriors, loved and idolised in the true spirit of sportsmanship.

-- BERNAMA

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