Fathers honoured for 'sporting' spirit

KUALA LUMPUR - Taxi driver Chong Wah Yin's support in his son's quest for taekwondo supremacy has been so great that he even took time off to attend the youngster's every single tournament. And, it has paid off.

Today, Ryan Chong Wy Lunn is a national taekwondo champion and was a silver medallist at last year's SEA Games.

"My family is more important than my work."

"I make it a point to record Ryan's tournaments so that I can show him the mistakes he made," said the 63-year-old, who had been a taxi driver for 16 years.

Chong was among six fathers recognised by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry yesterday for their efforts in bringing up the country's sports personalities.

The others were Pamg Joheng, who is the father of diver and Olympic bronze medallist Pandelela Rinong, Mohd Affendy Abdullah (sailor Mohd Khairulnizam), Mustapa Kassim (cyclist Fatehah Mustapa), Mohamad Said (archer Khairul Anuar) and Desmond David (squash queen Nicol David).

Despite Nicol attributing her success to her parents, her father only smiled, saying he was fortunate to have a hard-working and obedient daughter.

"All we did was to provide her with the facilities and give her the support for what she wanted to do," said the 67-year-old.

David recalled having to modify adult squash rackets for his daughter to use because she was only four or five years old when she was first introduced to the sport.

"Squash was a new sport in the country and there were no junior rackets," he said. "So, my friend and I cut some old, bigger wooden rackets and tied it up with wires for her."

Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim, who presented the awards, said the ongoing World Cup fever was the best time to appreciate fathers who had guided their children to sports glory.

But, she said the fathers needed to do more.

"During a population and family survey carried out by the ministry, it was found that mothers spent 80 per cent of their time with children while fathers, only 65 per cent," she said.

"We realise that some fathers are interested in certain sports that their wife or children might not take notice of and this has led to them spending more time with their peers," she said, adding that fathers were encouraged to share their hobbies with their families.