Malaysia at risk sending smallest contingent to Olympics in 18 years

  • Other Sport
  • Tuesday, 19 Apr 2016

National artistic gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi perform in women's floor exercise final in conjuction of 28th SEA Games in Bishan Sport Hall at Singapore. FAIHAN GHANI/The Star.

PETALING JAYA: Unless the shuttlers, golfers and swimmers pick up pace, Malaysia may find itself be sending the smallest contingent to the Olympics in 18 years.

The number of athletes to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics is still the same – 12 – even after four sports had completed their final qualification events.

Malaysian athletes were off the mark in the gymnastics, fencing, table tennis and taekwondo qualifying events for the Asian continent last week.

On Sunday, artistic gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi missed the chance to gain direct entry to the Olympics in August after finishing 63rd in the individual all-around at the Olympic Test Event in Rio.

The double Singapore SEA Games gold medallist needed to finish in the top 60 to clinch automatic qualification. She is now listed as a reserve.

At the London Olympics in 2012, Malaysia had 29 athletes from nine sports in the fray.

The 12 athletes who have made the cut so far are Khairul Anuar Mohamad (archery); Pandelela Rinong, Wendy Ng Yan Yee, Cheong Jun Hoong, Nur Dhabitah Sabri and Ooi Tze Liang (diving); Azizulhasni Awang and Fatehah Mustapa (track cycling); Welson Sim (swimming); Johnathan Wong Guangjie (shooting); and Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy and Nur Shazrin Mohd Latif (sailing).

Malaysia only had nine athletes when the South Korean city of Seoul hosted the Olympics in 1988. It rose to 26 in Barcelona four years later, followed by 35 in Atlanta 1996, 40 in Sydney 2000, 26 in Athens 2004 and 32 in Beijing 2008.

Chef-de-mission Tan Sri Mohd Al-Amin Abdul Majid said the number should soar past 20 once the qualifiers for badminton and golf are over.

“The qualification period for badminton will be over by the end of April ... Malaysia should have one representative in all five events.

“We should also get at least one man and one woman golfer each for the Olympics when the ranking race ends by July,” he said.

Thanks to his win in an Asian Development Tour (ADT) event in Manila over the weekend, Gavin Kyle Green has joined Danny Chia inside the top 60 of the men’s Olympic ranking, while Malaysia have two women – Kelly Tan and Michelle Koh – in the top 60 cut-off mark.

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