KUALA LUMPUR: National track cycling ace Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang believes that national athletes should compete with the mindset of wanting to win and not for the sake of getting big rewards or incentives for winning.

The 33-year-old said that while it was fair for athletes to get big rewards after winning major championships or titles, they should not make it a priority as rewards "are part of extrinsic motivation that is short-term in nature".

He, however, admitted that several of his teammates had quit the sport as they felt that the rewards they received did not commensurate with their achievements.

"If we compete to win cash and we succeed, but what we get is not up to expectation we will be disappointed and give up. But if we take up sports because we want to be an Asian or world champion, then our focus will be more towards that.

"So, when we win, they will be parties who will give us incentives; whether the incentives are a bit or a lot, we will still feel grateful because they (the incentives) are like a form of additional motivation," he said.

Azizulhasni, who made history when he became the country's first track cyclist to bag a silver medal in the Olympics when he finished second in the keirin event at the Tokyo Games last month, said this in the special edition webinar in conjunction with the UiTM National Month Celebration: Inspiration of Struggles in Tokyo today.

The webinar, organised by the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Science Centre, in collaboration with the UiTM Student Development Director's Office, also featured Paralympic Council of Malaysia (PCM) president Datuk Seri Megat D Shahriman Zaharudin as a member of the panel.

Meanwhile, Megat Shahriman feels that it is very important for successful athletes to be rewarded for their sweat and sacrifices in bringing glory to the country.

He said the absence of an insurance scheme for athletes made rewards, like the RM1 million for Olympic and Paralympic gold medallists, a source of "protection" in case of a disaster.

"At least the reward can be kept as savings in addition to other incentives received because athletes face the risk of having their career ended prematurely if they are seriously injured.

"Rewards are a motivation for all athletes and I agree that the government should give and that this (rewards) must continue. As long as they are in sports, we must give them rewards to boost their spirit to achieve further success," said Megat Shahriman, who was the Malaysian chef de mission at the recent 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Under the National Sports Incentive Scheme (SHAKAM), any national athlete who wins a gold medal at the Olympics or Paralympics will receive a reward of RM1 million and a lifelong monthly pension of RM5,000.