Names: Azizulhasni Awang (sprint and keirin), Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom (sprint and keirin)
Target: One medal
Achievements: Azizul (round of 16 sprint, keirin silver)
Shah Firdaus (round of 16 sprint, keirin quarter-finals)CYCLING posted the best performance among the 10 sports Malaysia participated in at the Tokyo Olympics, thanks to a thrilling ride from Azizulhasni Awang. Azizul did not get the gold Malaysia was hoping for but the silver was still a fine achievement considering the circumstances surrounding the staging of the Games amid the Covid-19 pandemic. To take silver behind Jason Kenny, the best ever Olympian Britain has produced, is something to be proud of as Azizul now becomes only the third Malaysian double Olympics medallist. He won bronze in the same event in Rio de Janeiro and is expected to go for another bid in Paris in three years time. Cycling now joins badminton and diving to contribute Olympics silver to Malaysia.
Names: Khairul Anuar Mohamad (men’s individual and mixed team) and Syaqiera Mashayikh (women’s individual and mixed team)
Target: One medal
Achievements: Khairul (last 16), Syaqiera (last 64); mixed team (finished 9th out of 29 teams in the ranking round, did not qualify for last 16)
ALTHOUGH not targeted to win a medal, the world No. 15 and reigning World Championships silver medallist Khairul showed nerves of steel to survive the first-two rounds through a one-arrow shoot off before finding two-time world champion Kim Woo-jin of South Korea too hot to handle in the last 16. The 29-year-old admitted that finishing empty-handed for the third time running at the Olympics wasn’t good enough as a seasoned competitor like him should be competing for medals rather than to gain experience. Syaqiera should be commended for her spirited debut. In just her third international outing, not only did the 20-year-old improve on her personal best of 630 (previous best 619), she also nearly stunned world No. 4 Elena Osipova of the ROC before losing 6-4.
Names: Lee Zii Jia (men’s singles), Aaron Cheah-Soh Wooi Yik (men’s doubles), Soniia Cheah (women’s singles), Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean (women’s doubles) and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (mixed doubles)
Target: One medal
Achievements: Aaron-Wooi Yik (bronze), Zii Jia (last 16), Soniia (group stage), Mei Kuan-Meng Yean (group stage) and Peng Soon-Liu Ying (group stage)
FAILURE was not an option and the team had Aaron-Wooi Yik to thank for after they won bronze in the men’s doubles. They saved Malaysia the blushes of returning empty-handed for the first time since Athens 2004.
Despite meeting their one-medal target, it could not hide the fact that the team underachieved. The bronze was obviously nothing to shout about because it was a far cry from the three-silver haul achieved in Rio five years ago. Zii Jia was handed a reality check following his All-England high while Rio Olympics silver medallists Peng Soon-Liu Ying looked past their prime. Soniia and Mei Kuan-Meng Yean failed to survive their tough groups but gave a good account of themselves before bowing out.
Names: Gavin Green (men’s individual) and Kelly Tan (women’s individual)
Achievements: Gavin (tied 57th) and Kelly (tied 34th)WITH a world-class field in the fray, it was certainly a tall order for Gavin and Kelly. Both have been struggling with their forms on the European Tour and LPGA Tour respectively. But the expectation was still on them to secure a respectable finish or at least improve on their previous Rio Games outing. And Kelly did just that when she saved her best for last, firing a seven-under 64 to finish tied 34th – 14 rungs better than where she was at the start of the final round. The result was a major improvement compared to Kelly’s 51st placing five years ago. For Gavin, it was a tournament to forget after coming in joint 57th to end up 10 rungs lower than his Rio debut.
Names: Welson Sim (men’s 200m and 400m freestyle); Phee Jinq En (women’s 100m and 200m breaststroke)
Target: Personal best
Achievements: Welson (32nd in 200m freestyle, 33rd in 400m freestyle); Jinq En (29th in 100m breaststroke, 31st in 200m breaststroke)THE swimmers were expected to deliver a personal best in their events. Phee Jinq En achieved her target to do better in her second Olympic appearance by rewriting her national record of 1:08.50 in the 100m breaststroke. She did not get into the top 16 semis in her pet event but will return home with a new mark of 1:08.40. Welson will have to be satisfied with a season best of 1:49.24 in the 200m freestyle heats.
Names: Pandelela Rinong (10m platform individual and synchro), Leong Mun Yee (10m platform synchro), Wendy Ng Yan Yee (3m springboard individual), Cheong Jun Hoong (10m platform individual), Nur Dhabitah Sabri (3m springboard individual).
Target: One medal
Achievements: Pandelela (12th in 10m platform individual final, eighth in 10m platform synchro); Mun Yee (eighth in 10m platform synchro); Jun Hoong (26th in 10m platform individual preliminary); Dhabitah (fourth in 3m springboard final); Wendy (20th in 3m springboard preliminary)NUR Dhabitah Sabri provided the only high point when she came close to bagging a medal in the individual 3m springboard competition. She was not targeted for a medal but raised hopes with a consistent display to finish fourth. Dhabitah is only 22 and the Tokyo experience will be the motivation for her to make a medal push in Paris in 2024. Malaysia’s best chance of winning a medal was in the 10m platform synchro but Pandelela-Leong Mun Yee placed last in the eight-nation final. Pandelela then blew her chance of adding the silver and bronze she earned at previous Olympics when she failed to recover after a nightmare opening dive, eventually finishing last out of 12 participants.
Names: Nur Suryani Taibi (50m rifle three positions)
Achievement: 34/37It was good to see Nur Suryani Taibi representing Malaysia for the second time but she could not match the shooters in her field. The 38-year-old mother of two received a wild card to compete and her lack of preparation showed. With just one and a half months of solid training, she scored 1,472 points. The Games showed her lack of depth and she vowed to bounce back stronger at next year’s Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
Names: Jeremiah Loo (men’s artistic), Farah Ann Abdul Hadi (women’s artistic)
Achievement: Jeremiah (62/66), Farah (68/85)
THERE is a huge disparity in standard between the Malaysian gymnasts and the top ones from the United States, China and Japan. Farah was impressive in some but had her slip-ups as well. As for Jeremiah, he was out of depth. They however, gained valuable experience in their first Olympics. It was a good eye-opener to gauge where they stand. It’s unclear what Farah’s plans are but she can be a good role model for other juniors to raise their level of execution. Jeremiah intends to go for another Olympics but he has to improve by leaps and bounds.
Names: Lee Hup Wei (men’s high jump), Azreen Nabila Alias (women’s 100m)
Target: final, break personal best
Achievement: did not clear, 7th (11.91s)LEE Hup Wei is the best in the South-East Asian region but the 34-year-old failed in all his three attempts to come through the qualifying round. A distraught Hup Wei admitted pressure got to him. He was diagnosed with Covid-19 in January and had to miss more than a month of training. He had an ankle injury before the Games. The Tokyo Games is his last but he wants to compete in next year’s Asian Games and Commonwealth Games before retiring. Azreen Nabila Alias however, surprised everyone by setting a personal best despite having only one month of intensive training. The 21-year-old posted 11.77s in the qualifying heat to erase her old mark of 11.91s. Hopes are high on her to break G. Shanti’s 28-year-old record of 11.51s.
Names: Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy (laser standard), Nur Shazrin Mohd Latif (laser radial), Juni Karimah Jamali and Nuraisyah Jamil (international 470)
Target: For seasoned campaigners to do better than Rio Olympics
Achievement: Khairul (28/35), Shazrin (26/44), Juni-Nuraisyah (19/21)Overall, the sailing had mixed experience as there were some inconsistent performances. Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy did better than at Rio Olympics, where he finished 35th. The 28-year-old needs more international competition or be based overseas to provide a good challenge at next year’s Asian Games. Nur Shazrin Mohd Latif had a good start in the laser radial but could not sustain. The 23-year-old did not have much competitive outing, and her training was hampered, no thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. She has the potential to close the gap with the top sailors in the world. Juni Karimah Jamali and Nuraisyah Jamil did not come good in their debuts but gained experience.