RIO DE JANEIRO – Malaysia has blown away the best chance ever for a gold medal
at the Olympics as the Rio Games draws its curtain on Sunday.
Malaysia had three finalists in badminton but none of them made it, with
flag-bearer Datuk Lee Chong Wei kissing his final Olympic with a silver in the
Besides Chong Wei, the men’s doubles, Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong and mixed
pair, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying never came close for the gold as all of them
lost the final battle to better opponents.
Diving queen Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong set the gold medal chase
for Malaysia with an opening silver medal in the synchronised 10m platform.
Cyclist Azizulhasni Awang, with eight years of training and studying in
Melbourne, Australia, finally clinched a medal at the Olympics with a bronze in
the keirin race.
Winning four silvers and a bronze at the Rio Games is not a big deal as
Malaysia’s 60-year-old wait for a gold medal since the 1956 Melbourne Games
Although the medal collection improved after a silver and bronze at the
2012 London Olympics, Malaysia’s failure to produce an Olympic champion in Rio
override the five medals in hand.
Despite describing the Rio outing with 32 athletes as “having done extremely
well in medal haul”, chef-de-mission Tan Sri Mohamed Al Amin Abdul Majid’s
facial expression was tinged with sadness.
“The gold still remains elusive,” said Al Amin after Chong Wei lost 21-18,
21-18 to Chen Long of China for the gold medal.
Most of the Malaysian athletes came to Rio much earlier to acclimatise
before the Games opening ceremony on Aug 5 but wrapped up a campign of non-
fulfilment and disappointment.
Malaysia’s neigbhours Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and even another ASEAN
member, Vietnam all returned home with a gold medal each with Thailand two.
Joseph Schooling won Singapore’s first-ever Olympic gold medal after winning
the 100m butterfly event, upstaging American icon Michael Phelps with a new
The 21-year-old swimming sensation smashed Phelps’s record of 50.58s set at
the 2008 Beijing Games with a new time of 50.39s.
Apart from Malaysia’s medallists, others failed or just passed the border
mark with golfers Danny Chia, Gavin Kyle Green, Michelle Koh and Kelly Tan
buried at the bottom.
Danny Chia and Gavin finished 47th and 48th respectively among the 60
golfers in the men’s individual, while Kelly was on 51st and Michelle on 58th
spot in the women’s category.
Among others who failed to meet the mark are high jumper Nauraj Singh
Randhawa who failed to qualify for the final when he cleared 2.26m while his
national record was 2.29m
Wildcard entrant, Zaidatul Husniah Zulklifi clocked a poor 12.12s in the
100m qualifying heat and 12.62s in the first-round heats.
In shooting, our sole representive, Johnathan Wong Guanjie finished 28th in
the 10m air pistol with 547 points and ended 37th in the 50m air pistol with 535
Archery was the biggest flop when the men’s recurve team failed to get past
the elimination round and the trio – Khairul Anuar Mohamad, Haziq Kamaruddin
and Muhammad Akmal Nor Hasrin – was nowhere near the podium.
Sailing was another major setback when Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy finished
35th in the men’s Laser Standard and Nur Shazrin Mohammad Latif in 33rd in the
women’s Laser Radial race.
Malaysia has some serious soul searching to do after once again coming up
short at the Olympics as they exited the 28th edition in Rio without the gold
Four years down the road for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Malaysia cannot depend
on oldguards as Chong Wei, now aged 33, will not be competing and ageing
Azizulhasni Awang in cycling is not likely to win the gold.
The relevant sports authorities should go back to the drawing board to find
out where, how, who and when to produce an Olympic champion as millions of
ringgit are poured into the sports development programme.
Will the Podium Programme, specially-tailored for handpicked athletes to be
groomed for the World Championships, Asian and Olympic Games be able to produce
an Olympic champion at the Tokyo Games?
A tall order for a short period of time.
Olympic champions are remembered for life, while silver and bronze
medallists are just forgotten by the people when the Games end. – MyNewsHub/Bernama