PETALING JAYA: The dates have changed but the aim remains. Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Naina Merican said they would work together with the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) and the Malaysian Paralympic Council (MPC) to make sure the Malaysian contingent will be prepared as well as they can be next year to realise the mission to clinch gold at the Tokyo Olympics and Tokyo Paralympics.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee have decided that the new dates of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be July 23-Aug 8 next year and the Paralympics from Aug 24-Sept 5.Reezal, in a statement, is relieved that an early decision has been made on the new dates.
“The new dates will give more time and room to the organisers, athletes and various stakeholders to overcome the challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic.
“This move will enable all parties to reschedule the training and competition programmes, including the qualification process for the athletes.
“I also welcome the decision that athletes who have qualified earlier will be guaranteed of their places in the Tokyo Olympics and Tokyo Paralympics.
“The Youth and Sports Ministry will support Olympic Council of Malaysia and Paralympic Council of Malaysia in reaching out to IOC and IPC on considering what will be the best solution for our athletes to have the best chances to be represented at the Games next year.
“I wish to emphasise again that we will all work together to end the gold medal wait at the Tokyo Olympics and to defend or improve on the three gold medals we won at the last Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro four years ago, ” he said.
In Rio, the Malaysian contingent did not win gold but returned with their best ever showing at the Olympics. They bagged four silvers and one bronze.
The shuttlers led the way with three silvers from Lee Chong Wei (men’s singles), Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (men’s doubles) and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (mixed doubles).
Diving also scored a breakthrough with their first ever silver from the women’s 10m platform pair Pandelela Rinong-Cheong Jun Hoong while Azizulhasni Awang rode to history with the first cycling medal – a bronze in the men’s keirin. Azizul is among the candidates earmarked to deliver the gold this time around.
Malaysia also made history with the first three Paralympic champions in Rio a month later.
The gold medals at Rio Paralympics came from Mohd Ridzuan Mohd Puzi (men’s T36 100m), Mohd Ziyad Zolkefli (men’s F20 shot putt) and Abdul Latif Romly (men’s T20 long jump).
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