RIO DE JANEIRO – Chef-de-Mission, Tan Sri Mohamed Al Amin Abdul Majid believes
Malaysia are on track to claim the elusive gold medal through hopeful Datuk
Lee Chong Wei and track cyclist Mohd Azizulhasni Awang.
On the eve of the Rio Olympic Games, he said the duo would be bidding
farewell to the world’s biggest show on earth and is convinced that the duo
possessed the depth and vast experience to make good their final appearance.
Malaysia should show progress from the silver and bronze medal in the
London Olympics 2012 and the 32-athlete here should justify their presence in
Rio, he told Malaysian media here today.
Besides badminton star Chong Wei, Azizulhasni and bronze medallist Pandelela
Rinong in diving as medal hopefuls, Al Amin did not discount the men’s archery
team to be on the podium.
He said coming to Rio early was a wise choice for the contingent as it
allowed them to settle down and acclimatise with the weather and the atmosphere
in the competition venues.
On other sports, he said athletes making their Olympic debut should seize
the opportunity to improve on their personal best and attempt to rewrite the
national record in their respective events.
“We don’t want them to be labelled as ‘passenger or tourist’ and they should
justify their presence here,” he said.
On Chong Wei, he said the 34-year-old world number one had the best
opportunity to end the bridesmaid role to Chinese star, Lin Dan in two previous
Al Amin, who is also Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) acting
president, said Chong Wei and the others were happy with the draw which meant
that Chong Wei would not likely cross Lin Dan in the semi-finals.
He said he could not foresee the Chinese badminton players’ strength until
they troop into the courts in Rio when the sports begin on Aug 11.
The Chinese shuttlers isolated themselves in Sao Paulo for the past 10 days
for their final preparation and are only due to arrive in Rio on Aug 7, four
days before the opening rounds.
“The national shuttlers are in good shape and feeling the pressure as the
games draw closer,” he added.
Al Amin said Lin Dan’s two gold medal feat in the back-to-back Olympics in
Beijing 2008 and London 2012 could be under threat by any other shuttler from
the preliminary group matches.
He said Lin Dan too was equally worried as he could possibly face fifth
seed, Jan Jorgensen of Denmark in the quarter-finals.
“The Chinese shuttlers always find that the European players are not easy
meat and Lin Dan is not comfortable with Jorgensen,” he said.
Asked if BAM could produce another ‘Chong Wei’ for the Tokyo Olympics 2020,
Al Amin said, “Chong Wei is a different breed altogether”.
“We are always preparing our young shuttlers to fill in the gap but it
cannot be like Chong Wei,” he said. – Bernama