What is the difference between a Trophy and a Medal?

  • Post category:Medal / Trophy

Trophy versus Medal

Trophies and medals, both hold a special place in Malaysian culture, recognizing outstanding achievements.

But while they share the spirit of pride and joy, there are some key differences between the two.

Size and Style

Imagine a glorious cup raised by a triumphant Malay martial arts fighter, or a stunning statue commemorating a badminton victory.

Trophies are the grand and impressive big brother here.

These awards demand attention and a prominent spot on the display shelf.

Medals, on the other hand, are more subtle yet personal.

They’re typically round metal discs, worn with pride around the neck on a colorful ribbon.

While medals can be beautifully crafted, their size makes them a more personal symbol of accomplishment.


The materials used in these awards also reflect their purpose.

Trophies are often crafted from premium materials like silver, crystal, or even wood.

We use “cengal”, “meranti”, and “kedondong” when it comes to wood.

These durable materials signify the weight and importance of the achievement.

Medals are sometimes made of precious metals like gold, silver, and bronze.

They can also be produced from more practical materials like plastic or zinc.

This reflects their wider use and the potential for awarding multiple medals in a single competition.

Celebrating Victories

The iconic image of a captain holding high the Trophy after a hard-fought final match perfectly captures this idea.

Trophies tend to celebrate collective triumphs.

They are often awarded to the winning team, serving as a permanent reminder of their united effort and sporting spirit.

Medals, however, are more focused on individual achievements.

They recognize the accomplishments of a single athlete who has excelled in their field.

This is why medals are prevalent in individual sports like Malay Martial arts or diving.

Customization Touch

Trophies often lend themselves to personalization.

Their larger size allows for engravings of the recipient’s name, details of the event, and even the date of achievement.

This touch makes the trophy a truly unique memento.

Medals, due to their smaller size, typically have limited space for personalization.

They might include the event logo or year on one side and the recipient’s name on the other.

Where are they used?

The final destination of these awards also reflects their nature.

Trophies are designed to be displayed with pride.

They become conversation starters, prominently exhibited in homes, offices, or dedicated trophy cabinets.

Medals, while cherished keepsakes, are more portable.

They can be tucked away in a drawer or displayed in a medal case, a personal treasure trove of past victories.

Other than the basic

There can always be exceptions to these general trends.

Some prestigious individual award is like the Independence Award in Malaysia.

This might come with a trophy alongside a medal.

Conversely, some team accomplishments might be celebrated with participation medals for all members.

It will also come along with a larger trophy for the overall champions.

Ultimately, the choice between a trophy and a medal depends on the nature of the competition and the message it aims to convey. 

Trophies celebrate grand victories and lasting achievements.

On the other hand, medals acknowledge individual excellence and participation in a broader competition.

Both, however, serve as a reminder of the dedication, perseverance, and the sweet taste of success.