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Wednesday July 16, 2008
KUALA LUMPUR: Cyclist Azizul Hasni Awang (pic) has been given the honour to be the flag bearer for the Malaysian contingent in the Beijing Olympics, which begin on Aug 8.
The 19-year-old from Dungun thus joins a select group of 12 athletes who were the flag bearers at the opening ceremonies since Malaysia made their debut in the Olympics in Melbourne in 1956.
The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president, Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Jaafar, who made the announcement after their monthly board meeting, said that Azizul had emerged as a rider to be reckoned with at the Asian level.
“He is a young man with great potential and we are giving him the opportunity to lead the country's contingent out in his first Olympics,” said Tunku Imran.
Azizul is down to compete in three events – team sprint, 200m sprint and keirin.
He is the holder of the Asian record of 10.160, which he set en route to an 11th-place finish in the world championships in Manchester in March. In the Asian Championships in Japan in April, he retained the keirin title and added the 200m sprint gold to his collection.
Tunku Imran added the Malaysian contingent for the Beijing Games had been finalised and they comprised 33 athletes from nine sports and 29 officials.
“We have some track and field athletes who are still trying to beat the qualifying marks before the July 23 deadline but their chances are slim. But if any of them qualify, we will make the necessary process to include them,” he said.
Malaysia will be represented in athletics, aquatics (swimming and diving), archery, badminton, cycling, shooting, sailing, taekwondo and weighlifting.
Meanwhile, the OCM will link up with Astro to launch a channel dedicated to sports on Nov 1.
The channel, Astro Arena, will feature programmes and activities of the 52 members affiliated to the OCM.
“It is to increase the awareness of sports in the country and assist in creating more exposure for them,” said Tunku Imran.
Previous flag bearers: Tan Kim Bee (weightlifting, Melbourne '56), Kuda Ditta (athletics, Rome '60), Shaharudin Ali (athletics, Tokyo '64), Nashatar Singh (athletics, Mexico '68), Ali Bakar (football, Munich '72), Ishtiaq Mobarak (athletics, Montreal '76), Sabiamad Abdul Ahad (shooting, Los Angeles '84), Nordin Jadi (athletics, Seoul '88), Razif Sidek (badminton, Barcelona '92), Nor Saiful Zaini (hockey, Atlanta '96), Mirnawan Nawawi (hockey, Sydney '00) and Bryan Nickson Lomas (diver, Athens '04)
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