Held every 4 years by a single city, the Olympic Games is the world’s biggest sporting event and this year, the Summer Games take place in Rio, Brazil from 5th – 21st August.
The 2016 Rio Olympics sees over 11,000 athletes from 206 participating nations competing in 306 events, which extends across 28 different sporting categories.
For Malaysia’s 15th Olympic appearance, the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) sent 32 of our country’s best athletes from 11 sports – badminton, swimming, marathon swimming, diving, athletics, archery, shooting, sailing, cycling track, golf, and weightlifting – to the Summer Games.
Don’t know who’s competing in what? Fret not, because we’ve compiled a list for you ;) Let us introduce you to Team MAS:
We have 3 young talented archers entering the Summer Games this year and they were selected through the 2016 Archery World Cup meet in Antalya, Turkey. The team, which consists of Haziq Kamaruddin, Khairul Anuar Mohamad, and Mohd Akmal Nor Hasrin, are aged between 21 – 25. Aside from Akmal, Haziq and Kahirul competed in the 2012 London Olympics.
Note: Haziq Kamaruddin, Khairul Anuar Mohamad, and Mohd Akmal Nor Hasrin did not advance to the quarterfinals for the men’s team and individual archery events.
Johor-born athlete Nauraj Singh Randhawa qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics after he broke the national record in the high jump category at the Singapore Open Athletics Championships 2016, becoming the first national track and field athlete to reach the Olympics without a need for a wild card since 2008. On the other hand, runner Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli was nominated by the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) as the wild card for women’s athletics.
Note: Nauraj Singh Randhawa did not advance to the finals and was placed 18th in the qualification round, finishing with 2.26m, while Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli ranked 8th in the quarterfinals.
Malaysia’s badminton team has enjoyed huge success throughout the years. Therefore, it’s no wonder that our country has qualified a total of 8 badminton players for the Olympics this year! The players are Chan Peng Soon, Goh Liu Ying, Vivian Hoo Kah Mun, Woon Khe Wei, Tee Jing Yi, Goh V Shem, Tan Wee Kiong, and last but not least, Dato’ Lee Chong Wei, who won 2 silver medals in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Summer Games.
Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong will be facing off China’s Fu Haifeng and Zhan Nan in the men’s doubles finals on Friday (19th August) at 10:50pm while Dato’ Lee Chong Wei will be going against Lin Dan in the men’s singles semi-finals on Friday at 7:30pm.
Note: Vivian Hoo Kah Mun and Woon Khe Wei did not advance to the quarterfinals in the women’s doubles; Tee Jing Yi lost to Japan’s Yamaguchi in the group stages; and Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying won silver in the mixed doubles.
Qualified divers were selected through the 2015 FINA World Championships, the 2015 Asian Diving Cup, and the 2016 FINA World Cup series. The Malaysian diving team consists of 6 members – Ahmad Amsyar Azman, Ooi Tze Liang, Cheong Jun Hoong, Ng Yan Yee, Pandelela Rinong, and Nur Dhabitah Sabri. Many are hoping that Pandelela Rinong will bring home a medal once again as she took the bronze in the 10m diving event at the 2012 London Olympics.
Ooi Tze Liang will be competing in the men’s 10m platform on 20th August while Nur Dhabitah Sabri and Pandelela Rinong will be participating in the women’s 10m platform semi-finals on 18th August at 9pm.
Note: Cheong Jun Hoong and Nur Dhabitah Sabri were ranked #5 in the women’s 3m synchronised springboard; Ng Yan Yee was placed #10 in the 3m springboard finals; Ahmad Amsyar Azman did not advance to the semi-finals; while Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong won silver in the 10m synchronised platform.
This year, 3 Malaysian swimmers splashed their way to the games! While this is distance swimmer Heidi Gan’s 2nd time in the sporting event, breaststroke specialist Phee Jing En, and Welson Sim (Malaysia’s first male swimmer to qualify for the Olympics) are first-timers.
Note: Phee Jing En did not advance to the semi-finals for the women’s 100m breaststroke; Heidi Gan was ranked #21 in the women’s 10km marathon; and Welson Sim did not advance to the finals for the men’s 200m, 400m, and 1500m freestyle events.
Once again, Fatehah Mustapa and Mohd Azizulhasni bin Awang aka “Azizul the pocket rocket” will be representing Malaysia in the Olympics. Azizulhasni was the flag bearer for the Malaysian team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and he was the highest-placed Asian cyclist at that time, finishing 8th in the keirin (a form of motor-paced cycle racing).
Note: Fatehah Mustapa did not pass the qualification round while Azizulhasni Awang won bronze for the men’s keirin event.
There are 2 sailors representing Malaysia this year – Nur Shazrin Mohd Latif and Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy. Though 23-year-old Khairulnizam (who competed at the 2012 London Summer Olympics) is no stranger to the Olympics, it is 17-year-old Shazrin’s first appearance in the sporting event. Besides that, she is also Malaysia’s first female sailor to compete in the games.
Note: Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy and Nur Shazrin Mohd Latif were ranked #35 and #33 in the men’s Laser and the women’s Laser Radial respectively.
Our country has entered 4 golfers into the Olympics – Danny Chia (world #230), Gavin Green (world #321), Kelly Tan (world #153), and Michelle Koh (world #443). They were selected through their respective individual events based on the IGF (International Golf Federation) World Rankings. Besides 43-year-old Danny Chia, the rest of the golfers are aged between 22 – 25.
Kelly Tan and Michelle Koh will be competing in the women’s individuals on 18th August at 6:30pm.
Note: On 11th August, Danny Chia and Gavin Green finished the men’s individual event, ranking #48 and #47 respectively.
Malacca-born shooter Johnathan Wong Guan Jie earned Malaysia a quota spot for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics after he won the gold medal in the 10m Air Pistol at the 2016 Asia Olympic Qualifying Tournament in India. The 24-year-old UPM student also won the silver medal at the 2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Note: He was ranked #28 out of 46 shooters in the 10m air pistol category and was 6 points short of the qualifying mark of 580 points for the finals round on 6th August.
25-year-old Mohd Hafifi Mansor secured a spot to Rio from a team event in Uzbekistan, making this his first appearance in the prestigious sporting event. Prior to the Summer Games, the Malaysian weightlifter trained hard for 7 weeks in Foshan, China to ensure that he is in top shape to compete. “It is hard to describe the heavy training here (Foshan), but whatever it is, I am ready for Rio,” he said.
Note: Mohd Hafifi Mansor was placed #9 in the men’s 69kg event, finishing with 316kg.
Meanwhile, you can check out the video of the 2016 Rio Olympics’ opening ceremony below. Look out for Malaysia’s national team at the 5:26 mark:
In the wise words of singer Jencarlos Canela, “The Olympics show that your dream can come true if you work hard. It’s not impossible”.
Go Team MAS! We believe that you will make us proud. #MalaysiaBoleh :)
Sources: Fourth Official, The Malay Mail, Says, Swim Swam, Just Read Online, The Star (1), The Star (2), Team Malaysia, Wikipedia, Rio 2016.
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