As a former title winning national shuttler, Rashid Sidek knows all about landing lucrative windfalls as reward for making the country proud on the international stage.
At his pomp, Rashid was a serial winner whose achievements included helping the country win bronze at the 1992 Olympics and the Thomas Cup that same year.
Hence he had some sound advice for some of the national shuttlers reaping the financial rewards after their performances at the recent Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
“The current generation of shuttlers are fortunate nowadays with many rewards coming their way. I just want to advise them to be savvy with their winnings and not simply blow it away on unnecessary things.
“During my time, the reward for winning an Olympics bronze was only RM40,000 and nothing more,” he said with a laugh.
Rashid was part of the recipient from the KL Badminton Academy, who incentivised the state-based shuttlers who did the country proud in Tokyo on Monday.
Cheah Like Hou received RM10,000 for winning gold at the Paralympics, while national men’s doubles shuttler Soh Wooi Yik got RM5,000 for his bronze.
Soniia Cheah and Chow Mei Kuan received RM2,000 each, while Rashid and national coaching director Wong Choong Hann received RM3,000 each.
Soh, who has already pocketed close to RM150,000 from various parties for his efforts, was smart enough to let his parents handle his winnings.
“I gave it to them. It’s better that way. If not I might use it on other things including spending on shoes and other things,” he said.
Rashid, who helped Cheah become the first Malaysian to win gold at the Paralympics, is also embarking on a new career path.
He is on the verge of setting up his own badminton academy, and already has several shuttlers under his wings including Cheah and Liew Daren.
“It’s not a big club yet, but it’s a good start. For now it’s just me as coach. I need more funding to recruit more coaches, so for now I will handle things on my own.
“The plan is to expand next year. I’m still hesitant to make any major plans due to the pandemic situation. But once it subsides, I can plan better,” said Rashid, whose contract with the National Sports Council runs until the end of this year.
“I have yet to speak to them about renewing [the contract]. But if they have talent which they wish for me to develop, I am more than happy to help like how I did with Cheah.”
In 2019, Cheah turned to Rashid to help turn his fortunes around.
The former singles ace turned the Standing Upper 5 (SU5) shuttler into a world beater currently on a 36-match unbeaten record since he began training with Rashid.