KUALA LUMPUR: The Youth and Sports Ministry is expecting more national athletes will qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in Brazil, in August.
Its Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said at the moment, 12 athletes had qualified on merit in five sport events, namely sailing, shooting, archery, aquatic (diving and swimming) and cycling.
“We are identifying several sport events such as badminton, archery, swimming, gymnastics, golf, athletics and weightlifting that are still in the qualifying stages until July,” he told the Dewan Rakyat here today.
He was replying to a question from Datuk Othman Aziz (BN-Jerlun) on the preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympics and the effectiveness of the Podium Programme for the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.
Khairy said the 12 athletes who qualified for the Rio Games were Pandelela Rinong, Cheong Jun Hoong, Wendy Ng Yan Yee, Ooi Tze Liang, Nur Dhabitah Sabri for diving; Azizulhasni Awang and Fatehah Mustapa (cycling); Jonathan Wong (shooting); Welson Sin (swimming); Khairul Anuar Mohamad (archery) and Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy and Nur Shazrin (sailing).
He said the Podium programme, which was launched last February would ensure an increase in the number of national athletes qualifed for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, with at least 22 people.
“The objectives of the programme are to achieve the first gold medal in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, to restore top 10 finish in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast and in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, as well as to put 10 athletes in world top six rankings,” he said.
According to him, the Podium programme would become a world-class benchmark in emphasising a more professional training management, more comprehensive support service, more efficient care of the athletes’ welfare and latest innovation and trend for potential athletes besides empowering other sport events.
He said the effectiveness of the Podium programme could be seen in the participation of athletes in three sporting events.