Reality bites as Malaysia sending smaller contingent to Olympic Games

PETALING JAYA: We have to face the facts – there will be a small contingent heading to the Paris Olympics with a hope to realise Malaysia’s dream for gold.

But chef de mission Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin remains unruffled as he wants to shift the focus to those who will be heading to Paris from July 26-Aug 11.

“This Olympics is a tough one for us,” said Hamidin.

“Of course we want the first gold medal, but we must accept the fact that many athletes did not qualify.

“The size of the contingent is already reduced, so now we must get behind and give everything we have for the athletes that have qualified for Paris,” he said after meeting with diver Bertrand Rhodict and shooter Johnathan Wong at the Bukit Jalil Sports Complex yesterday.

Besides Bertrand and Johnathan, only three other athletes have booked their spot at the World Games, namely archer Ariana Nur Dania Zairi (pic), sailor Nur Shazrin Mohd Latiff, and road cyclist Nur Aisyah Mohd Zubir.

“For Bertrand and Johnathan, it’s good that they are injury-free and will be participating in several world tournaments between now and July.

“It’s good that they have tournaments to compete in while undergoing their training for the Olympics,” said Hamidin.

Olympic debutant Bertrand will be heading to the World Cup in Montreal from Feb 29-March 3, while Johnathan, who will make his second Olympic appearance, will compete at the World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan from May 1-12 before Paris in July.

“Bertrand is only 19 years old and will be going for his first Olympics. This shows good potential for Malaysia in the future.

“He is mentally strong. So we have to take care and support him because he has potential,” said Hamidin, who is also president of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).

Experienced athletes such as 2020 Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Azizulhasni Awang, archer Khairul Anuar Mohamad, and sailor Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy are likely to confirm their tickets to Paris.

Meanwhile, Malaysia are expected to have a big number of qualifiers in badminton when the qualifying ends in April.

“Although not sealed yet, my message to any athletes that qualify for the Olympics is to push themselves to the maximum capability to get the medal.”

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