It is devastating to some but to some the Olympic dreams live on and ready to make with sacrifices although the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed to next year.
The Covid-19 virus has taken its toll on sporting events throughout the world and it is no different in Malaysia – a country with a population of nearly 32 million – never short of sporting activities and full of zest and enthusiasm.
The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics gives hopes to make the grade due to the extended time to qualify. To those who have qualified, it has only fueled their determination to achieve success.
Topping the list is Malaysia’s ace cyclist Azizulhasni Awang. The Pocket Rocketman from Dungun, Terengganu the mission remains the same – to win Malaysia’s elusive Olympic gold.
Azizul, who won the bronze medal in the keirin at the last Olympics in Rio in 2016, as qualified for Tokyo and will compete in the keirin and the sprint.
The little dynamite who is currently training in Melbourne said he is ”always positive” and will make use of the extra time handed by the International Olympic Council (IOC) to chase his dream to be the first to win a gold medal for an Olympics gold for Malaysia.
“I am always positive in whatever I do and the desire is always there…chasing the Olympic gold.”
For sailor Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy who has qualified on merit for the men’s laser, it will be “more comprehensive training” in his third Olympics and the postponing to the mega event to next year is a “blessing in disguise”.
Other sailors who have made the grade to Tokyo are Nur Shazrin Latif (women’s laser), Nuraisyah Jamil and Juni Noor Jamal (women’s 420).
For professional mixed doubles pair, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying who won the silver medal at the Rio Olympics, they are more concerned about gaining sponsorship in their preparations for the biggie.
Lee Zii Jia, Malaysia’s top singles men shuttler, will make his Olympics debut it trying to cut out his mistakes and take his game to a higher level after a memorable debut in the All-England where he reached the semi-finals.
“I am very focused on my training and working on my shortcomings. It is a blessing in disguise in some ways now that the (Olympic) Games will be held next year as there is more time for training,” says the Kedahan.
Malaysia’s former world No 1 Datuk Lee Chong Wei won the silver medal at the last three Olympics – Beijing (2008), London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016).
Chong Wei will be in Tokyo as the chef de mission. He has since quit the shuttle game due to ill-health.
Their current sponsorship contracts end at the end of this year after the Tokyo Olympics were taken into consideration.
Among the others who have qualified for Tokyo on merit are divers are Leong Mun Yee, Pandelela Rinong, Nur Dhabitah Sabri, Ng Yan Yee, while archery has Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy and Farah Ann Abdul Hadi (artistic gymnastics).