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Saturday, 13 August 2016 | MYT 10:34 PM

Gag order? You cannot be serious

Azizulhasni Awang has been barred from speaking to the Malaysian press in Rio. - AZHAR MAHFOF / The Star

Azizulhasni Awang has been barred from speaking to the Malaysian press in Rio. - AZHAR MAHFOF / The Star

RIO DE JANEIRO: Silence is not golden – not to the press anyway.

The Malaysian cycling team have put a gag on Azizulhashi Awang and Fatehah Mustapa.

Coach John Beasley told the journalists at a press conference on Monday they could ask as many questions as they wanted to because after that Azizul and Fatehah would be banned from talking to the press.

Like the cyclists, the divers took the same route. No interviews until their events are over.

Luckily, the shuttlers are not banned from opening their gob. If not there would be no stories coming out from Rio de Janeiro. And these are the major sports that Malaysia are depending on to end the Olympic gold drought.

C’mon. What is happening here?

It’s really perplexing.

All these athletes are funded by the Government. The cyclists and divers train overseas and big amount of money are spend on them. Certainly the tax-paying public has the right to know what’s happening on the ground.

We, the sports journalists, are not asking them to comment on politics. It’s sports we are interested in.

Talking to the press will put the athletes under more pressure? Now, you can’t be serious.

If our athletes can’t handle the pressure, something must be wrong somewhere. It means they are not strong in the head.

World class athletes like sprinter Usain Bolt and swimmer Michael Phelps thrive under pressure. The higher the pressure the better they are.

At the International Zone of the Games Village, athletes from other countries speak and mingle freely with the press, even those from China.

Malaysian journalists can only watch in envy.

Personally, I think Malaysian athletes are too pampered. Officials mollycoddle them all the time. It’s time to discard the kid gloves.

And some of our athletes are super sensitive. You criticise them and they won’t talk to you.

My message to them is: Grow up.

When you achieve success, we praise you. But when you fail, you can’t expect us to glorify you.

That’s not how it works with the press. We are unbiased in what we do.

Tags / Keywords: Rio Olympics , Malaysia , Azizulhasni Awang , Fatehah Mustapa

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