Malaysian Contingent To Paris 2024 Set To Be Smaller Than Expected

Paris Olympic Games
09/02/2024 06:10 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 (Bernama) -- The size of the Malaysian contingent to the 2024 Paris Olympics is likely to be smaller compared to several previous editions after some big names fell by the wayside in the qualifiers, just like the national men's hockey team.

This is after none of the women divers managed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since the 2000 edition in Sydney while for the men divers, only Bertrand Rhodict Lises has so far qualified for the 10-metre (m) platform individual through the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan last year.

The biggest shock was the failure of national diving queen and two-time Olympic medallist Datuk Pandelela Rinong and two other hopefuls, Nur Dhabitah Sabri and Wendy Ng Yan Yee, to earn tickets to Paris 2024 at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar this week.

Jellson Jabillin and Enrique Maccartney Harold still have a chance to win a spot in the Paris Olympics when they take part in the preliminary round of the men's 10m platform individual event in Doha today.

Malaysia have had at least three representatives in diving since the 2000 Sydney edition, with six divers competing in the 2012 London edition and seven in the 2016 Rio edition.

Pandelela bagged a bronze in the women's 10m platform individual in the 2012 edition before combining with Cheong Jun Hoong to clinch a silver in the 10m platform synchronised event four years later in Rio de Janeiro.

The National Sports Council (NSC) had previously estimated that 25-30 athletes would qualify to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, which will be held from July 26-Aug 11.

After 40 athletes represented the nation at the 2000 Sydney edition, with nearly half of them being hockey players, the size of the Malaysian contingent at the 2004 Athens Olympics was 26; 2008 Beijing (32); 2012 London (30); 2016 Rio (32) and 2020 Tokyo (30).

However, there are serious concerns that the size national contingent will be far smaller after the big names in diving failed to qualify, in addition to the fact that experienced athletes, like archer Khairul Anuar Mohamad and sailor Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy, have yet to confirm their tickets either.

Besides Bertrand, only four other athletes have qualified for the Paris Olympics, namely woman recurve archer Ariana Nur Dania Zairi, woman sailor Nur Shazrin Latif, woman road cyclist Nur Aisyah Mohamad Zubir and shooter Johnathan Wong.

Other athletes are still in the process of trying to qualify and, based on the current ranking, badminton is expected to send the most number of representatives.

Men's singles shuttlers Lee Zii Jia and Ng Tze Yong as well as Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (men's doubles), Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah (women's doubles), Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei (mixed doubles) and Goh Jin Wei (women's singles) are still in the hunt to qualify for Paris 2024.

In track cycling, Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang and Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom are also expected to qualify for the world's biggest multi-sports Games.

The qualifying process for athletics, table tennis, shooting, sailing, archery and swimming is still ongoing and the hope is that several more national representatives can confirm their tickets either on merit or via wildcard.

The 1960 Rome and 1988 Seoul Olympics had the lowest number of Malaysian participation, with just nine athletes each, while 62 athletes competed in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.