KUALA LUMPUR: The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) have stood firm on its decision to place the women’s badminton team under Category B for the Indonesian Asian Games in August.
And with that decision, the women shuttlers will not take part in the Asian Games team event for the first time in 20 years – since the 1998 edition.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria had stated that they would not be sending the full team unless all 10 players made it under Category A.
Only Lee Meng Yean-Chow Mei Kuan (women’s doubles), Shevon Lai Jemie and Goh Liu Ying (both mixed doubles) made the cut under Category A – and they will only feature in individual events.
Athletes under Category A are fully funded by the government while the expenses of B category athletes are borne by the national sports associations.
Asian Games chef de mission Datuk Seri Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi said BAM’s appeal to consider the women’s team was rejected because they did not meet the selection criteria of being ranked as the top four teams in Asia.
The men’s team, however, received full-backing for the Games with the endorsement of their 10-man team comprising Lee Chong Wei, Lee Zii Jia, Leong Jun Hao, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Tan Wee Kiong, Goh V Shem, Teo Ee Yi, Ong Yew Sin, Goh Soon Huat and Chan Peng Soon under Category A.
The appeal from men’s football to move to Category A was also rejected. It was the same fate for handball, shooting, kabaddi, pencak silat, para gliding, rugby sevens, women’s sepak takraw and women’s hockey.
Azim confirmed that after yesterday’s selection meeting, the Asiad team will consist of 447 athletes and 140 officials.
“For athletics, only one additional official was approved. They asked for other athletes to be included under class A, but we said no,” said Azim.
Several athletes for gymnastics, swimming, artistic swimming, and three-on-three basketball which were excluded before, have been accepted into Category B.
Azim said jet ski has been moved from Category A to B because the sport is not affiliated to OCM.
The participation of wind surfing and line skating will be decided soon.
On medal target, Azim said it should be more than the previous haul of 33 medals (5-14-14) as a bigger contingent will be sent compared to the Incheon Games in 2014.
“I will visit the teams next week and after that, we’ll announce the official medal target.”