Malaysiakini News

Pressure for gold intensifies for M'sia in final lap of Olympics

Bernama  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Malaysia is under tremendous pressure to pick up its the first gold medal as the Rio Olympic Games before the curtain falls, exactly a week from now.

As neighbouring countries Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore have already clinched their gold medals, Malaysia is still waiting as its gold medal prospects hinge on badminton, cycling and diving.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who flew into Rio two days ago, conceded that the nation's gold medal chances are at the tail end of the games.

"We must win our first gold medal here. This is the best chance for (badminton ace) Lee Chong Wei to make it," he told Malaysian media at a press conference after visiting the national contingent at the Games Village yesterday.

He said the decisive moment has arrived for the three sports to deliver. He added that dive queen Pandelela Rinong's additional medal would be nice and a third from diving would be extraordinary. Pandelela will be competing in the individual 10m platform event on Tuesday.

Pandelela and Cheong Jun Hoong delivered the first medal, a silver, in Rio in the synchronised 10m Platform last Tuesday.

Besides Chong Wei bidding farewell in his fourth Olympic appearance, Malaysia also pinned hopes on cyclist Azizulhasni Awang in the keirin.

Khairy, who met some of the athletes over lunch at the village, said Azizulhasni, 28, is in high spirits.

He said archery, which was initially among the medal prospects, had a disastrous outing after a first round knockout in the men's team recurve event, and the archers failed in the opening individual rounds.

On the urgings by the archery association for its Korean veteran coach Lee Jae Hyung to be replaced, Khairy said there should not be any hasty decisions.

"We have to sit down with the archery association about the Korean's fate... maybe he can be moved to develop the sport. Anyway the review will be done after talking to the archers," he said.

Besides, archery, he said, sailors Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy and woman sailor Nur Shazin Mohamad Latif also did not live up to expectations and the targets set for them.

Khairy will be in Rio until the badminton finals on Aug 20.

- Bernama

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