KUALA LUMPUR: The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) is expecting more national athletes to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by the qualifying deadline in July.
OCM president Datuk Seri Mohamad Norza Zakaria said a larger number of participants would increase the chance of winning medals. Malaysia have yet to ever win an Olympics gold medal.
“Usually, our representatives are around 20 to 30 athletes, if there more athletes from badminton, hockey, cycling and others qualified, we will have a relatively large contingent. If more athletes qualified, the chances to improve the medal tally are also better,” he told a press conference after chairing the OCM Executive Board meeting at Wisma OCM here 0n Wednesday.
He also hailed Farah Ann Abdul Hadi as the latest athlete to qualify for Tokyo 2020 in the individual all-around event after the national gymnast finished 16th out of 20 participants at the qualifying session of the 2019 Gymnastics World Championship in Stuttgart, Germany.
The 25-year-old is the third Malaysian gymnast to qualify for the Olympics after Au Li Yen in the Sydney 2000 and Ng Shu Wai in Athens 2004.
Other athletes who have qualified for Tokyo are Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy in the men’s laser sailing event, Nur Shazrin Mohd Latif (sailing – women’s radial laser) and Khairul Anuar Mohamad (archery – men’s recurve).
So far four divers have qualified for Tokyo: Nur Dhabitah Sabri and Wendy Ng Yan Yee (women’s 3m springboard), Pandelela Rinong Pamg (women’s 10m platform) as well as partner Leong Mun Yee in the women’s 10m synchronised platform.
The men’s hockey squad is now preparing to face a two-leg play-off against three-time gold medalist Great Britain in the final qualifying round in London on Nov 2 and 3.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Malaysia sent 32 athletes and had their best performance at the Games, winning four silver and a bronze medal.
The country’s biggest ever contingent was in the 1964 Tokyo edition but the squad came home empty-handed. — Bernama