Shot in the arm for 15 athletes ahead of 2024 Paris Olympics

PETALING JAYA: There is plenty of New Year cheer for 15 national athletes who were selected to receive scholarships under the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Solidarity Fund.

The aspiring Paris Olympians are Khairul Anuar Mohd (archery), Lee Zii Jia (badminton), Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik (badminton), Pearly Tan (badminton), M. Thinaah (badminton), S. Kisona (badminton), Azizulhasni Awang (cycling), Fadhil Zonis (cycling), Mohd Shah Firdaus Sahrom (cycling), Pandelela Rinong (diving), Nur Dhabitah Sabri (diving), Nuraisyah Jamil (sailing), Juni Karimah Noor Jamali (sailing) and Nur Shazrin Mohd Latif (sailing).

The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tan Sri Norza Zakaria, who announced the recipients for the 2022-2024 period, said they had received 40 applications from 11 sports.

However, only 15 athletes from five sports were selected. And four of them have already made the podium at the Olympics.

The scholarship offers the athletes a fixed monthly grant for their training and qualification costs.

“Among the IOC criteria is that the recipients need to show their potential to qualify for the Paris Olympics in 2024.

“We decided on the 15 athletes who met this criteria at this point,” he said.

At the Tokyo Olympics last year, Malaysia got one silver from Azizul in men’s keirin event while Aaron-Wooi Yik contributed a bronze.

Meanwhile, Malaysia have expressed an interest in hosting the 2027 SEA Games.

Norza said this was after the South-East Asian Games Federation (SEAGF) contacted OCM regarding the possibility of hosting the biennial event following Brunei’s withdrawal.

“We have agreed to submit an expression of interest to SEAGC while the OCM would forward this information to the government and further discussions will be held in due time.”

However, he added that OCM would look into the country’s financial capability, apart from the Covid-19 pandemic issue, before deciding.

“With the facilities we have, it will not cost that much but we don’t want to talk about it now.”

Malaysia last hosted the Games in 2017.

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