PETALING JAYA: All Olympics-bound athletes will have to make the most of the extra time they have been given to fine-tune their preparations for the world’s biggest multi-sport event, which has been postponed to next year.
Chef de mission Lee Chong Wei (pic) agreed with the postponement, saying that the health of the athletes was paramount.
“Everyone must stay safe and minimise the risk (of getting infected), ” said the 37-year-old who won three silver medals in four Olympics appearances.
“Given the current situation in the world, it’s a good thing to postpone the Games for a year because I don’t know how long the pandemic will last. Health should be priority at this juncture. I just hope that everything will return to normal as soon as possible.”
Following the deferment of Tokyo 2020, Chong Wei is hoping that those who have already qualified will take advantage of the additional time they have on their hands, while those who haven’t continue to keep pushing themselves in their bid to secure berths.
Chong Wei believes the postponement could mean that many of the qualifiers that had been scrapped since last month would be held in the future, hence all the hopefuls must prepare themselves for the eventuality.
“It’s imperative for the athletes to continue maintaining themselves in tip-top conditions, although the Olympics will only take place next year, ” said Chong Wei.
“Some athletes will probably fell disappointed (with the delay), but let’s not dwell on it so much. Instead, make good use of the time you have to better prepare yourself. One year can make a lot of difference.
“As for our shuttlers and divers who are still awaiting anxiously to see if their respective world bodies would extend the qualifying campaigns, don’t give up, ” he said.
“I can’t be sure what the BWF and FINA decisions will be, so just keep training hard (after the movement control order is lifted) and get yourself ready.”
So far, 12 Malaysian athletes have qualified for the Olympics.
They are from diving (Wendy Ng Yan Yee, Nur Dhabitah Sabri, Pandelela Rinong and Leong Mun Yee), sailing (Nur Shazrin Mohamed Latif, Khairulnizam Affendy, Noraisyah Jamil and Juni Karimah Noor Jamali), cycling (Azizulhasni Awang and Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom), archery (Khairul Anuar Mohamad) and artistic gymnastics (Farah Ann Abdul Hadi).
Those from badminton, swimming and karate are in the midst of qualification process.
At the last Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Malaysia had 32 athletes from 10 sports and achieved the best ever haul of four silvers and one bronze.
Did you find this article insightful?
73% readers found this article insightful