TOKYO: Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican(pix) has called on Malaysians to continue to give their undivided support to the national athletes competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
He said their words of encouragement to the athletes would surely motivate the athletes to give their best at the world’s biggest multi-sports Games.
“I ask all Malaysians – as our athletes compete in the Olympics, surely there will be highs and lows – not to just take one side of the story when they fail because we still have many more athletes who will fight on.
“They need inspiring and motivating words from all Malaysians… let’s not just stop at this (in giving our support),” he said in a video clip the ministry shared with the media.
Reezal Merican arrived here with the last batch of national athletes yesterday (July 25). A total of 30 national athletes are competing in the July 23-Aug 8 Tokyo Olympics.
Yesterday, Malaysian chef de mission Datuk Lee Chong Wei had expressed his dismay at the negative comments hurled by netizens towards the national shuttlers.
As a former national shuttler himself and who won the Olympic men’s singles silver medal three times, he said he was disappointed to read the comments following the national shuttlers’ defeat in the group stages at the Tokyo Games.
Rio 2016 silver medallists Chang Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying failed to advance to the mixed doubles quarter-finals after suffering two straight defeats in Group D at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza here.
Women’s doubles pair Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean also suffered the same fate after losing both their Group A matches, with the latest defeat – 21-17, 15-21, 8-21 – coming at the hands of Japan’s world number one pair of Sayaka Hirota-Yuki Fukushima.
However, Reezal Merican was full of praise for the determination shown by several Malaysian athletes.
He praised national woman archer Syaqiera Mashayikh for managing to record her personal best in the ranking round of the women’s individual recurve event on July 23 although she was only confirmed a place in the Tokyo Olympics a short time back.
Syaqiera, 21, who is making her Olympic debut, did well to finish in 43rd spot in the individual recurve ranking round to record a personal best of 630 points at the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field.
Not only did she beat her previous best of 619, her latest feat also surpassed the previous best achievement by a national woman archer on the Olympic stage held by Mon Redee Sut Txi, who scored 626 points at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Reezal Merican said he also appreciated the efforts put in by men’s artistic gymnast Jeremiah Loo Phay Xing and swimmer Welson Sim Wee Sheng as well as Peng Soon-Liu Ying.
“Jeremiah only knew of his slot in the Olympics in June. He never expected it and never competed in any events. Welson, meanwhile, underwent surgery at the end of last year and underwent a rehabilitation process… it’s not easy to get ready in less than six months.
“But both these young athletes gave their best for the country. I am confident that these two young athletes, who are making their Olympic debut, will learn from their experience here and perform much better after this,” he said.
Reezal Merican, meanwhile, admitted that Peng Soon-Liu Ying knew they would have a tough task against Mark Lamsfuss-Isabel Herttrich based on the German pair’s superb performance against China’s Wang Yilyu-Huang Dong Ping.
Peng Soon-Liu Ying will end their Olympic challenge by taking on world number three Wang Yilyu-Huang Dong Ping of China later today.
After losing 18-21, 21-10, 16-21 to Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet on Saturday (July 24), world number seven Peng Soon-Liu Ying fell 12-21, 15-21 to the Germans on Sunday (July 25). -Bernama