Malaysia eyes five more medals in Rio

M Saravanan

RIO DE JANEIRO: The highly spirited Malaysian athletes are all charged up to deliver another five medals after diving pair Pandelela Rining and Cheong Jun Hoong broke the medal drought at the Rio Olympic Games here.

The silver medal in the women’s synchronised 10m platform event yesterday has sparked off a renewed spirit for the contingent to review their medal prospects in diving, badminton and cycling.

Deputy Sports Minister M Saravanan said he was confident there was more to come from diving, badminton and keirin specialist Azizulhasni Awang.

He said based on current performance, there was high hopes for badminton to contribute two medals through Lee Chong Wei in the singles, and another in the doubles event.

In diving, he said, Pandelela and Jun Hoong have a bright chance in their individual 10m platform and 3m springboard respectively.

Saravanan, who visited the Games Village here yesterday, said he was satisfied with the performances of Malaysia’s 32-athlete team for Rio, but expressed disappointment with archery.

The archery men’s recurve trio failed to live up to expectations after making an early exit today with top archer Khairul Anuar Mohamad failing to qualify for the individual round of 16.

The team also ranked bottom among 12 countries in the ranking qualifying round and was knocked-out by France in the first round.

On his visit to Rio, Saravanan said he was here to show support for the team and at the same time, observe the facilities provided by the host country in staging the biggest sporting show on earth.

“I am impressed with the facilities by the host nation for the Olympic family.

Despite facing an economic crisis, the country has given the best for the athletes,” he said.

He said certain facilities such as transportation for the Olympic family was excellent as dedicated lanes were made for busses and cars ferrying athletes and officials to venues and back to the Games Village.

He said such facilities and others were noted and would be discussed among ministry officials as Malaysia would be hosting the SEA Games next year.

Meanwhile, chef-de-mission, Mohamad Al Amin Abdul Majid, who accompanied Saravanan for the Games Village tour, said he expected all athletes to give their best in their respective events.

There will be some disappointment for various reasons, but certainly qualifying for the Olympics was an achievement in itself, he said.

So far, those for archery, weightlifting and shooting have completed their Rio mission.