Shuttlers can Serve Up A Medal in Paris, But Draw Holds Key - Hamidin  

27/05/2024 06:04 PM

PETALING JAYA, May 27 (Bernama) -- Malaysian chef de mission for the Paris Olympics Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin is confident that the badminton team can bring home a medal from the world's biggest multi-sports Games, which will be held from July 26 to Aug 11.

Commenting on the performance of national shuttlers in the Malaysia Masters, which ended at the Axiata Arena yesterday, he said the badminton players are still on track to go far at Paris 2024.

However, he stressed that the draw for the Olympics on July 12 would go a long way towards determining whether they can challenge for medals.

"The draw will be crucial for both the singles or doubles events. Our players, like Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (men's doubles), Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah (women's doubles) and Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei (mixed doubles) have stunned some of the world's top pairs and that gives us hope.

"It doesn't mean the player who wins now will go far (in the Olympics). So, our players must continue to push hard in training until the Olympic Games. For Lee Zii Jia (men's singles), the good thing is that he is making a strong comeback… the only setback is that he suffered cramps during the recent Malaysia Masters,” he told a media conference after a gathering with the athletes here today.

In the Super 500 Malaysia Masters badminton championships from May 21-26, professional men's singles player Zii Jia was the only Olympic-bound Malaysian shuttler to reach the final, where he lost to Viktor Axelsen.

Tang Jie-Ee Wei and Pearly-Thinaah bowed out in the semi-finals; 2022 world champions Aaron-Wooi Yik were eliminated in the quarter-finals; and women's singles ace Goh Jin Wei crashed out in the second round.

Although Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Jemie Lai clinched the mixed doubles title, the newlyweds failed to qualify for the Paris Olympics during the year-long qualifying period which ended last month.

With the Olympics set to kick off in less than two months, Hamidin advised those who have qualified for the Games to take care of their safety and health so that they can perform at the highest level in Paris.

He also advised the athletes to stay away from social media if they are not mentally strong enough to take the criticisms and pressure heaped on them by the public, who are hoping for Malaysia to strike gold for the first time at the Olympics.

"They understand this well. If they can't take the heat from netizens on social media, they should just focus on what they need to do. Hopes are definitely high among Malaysians for our athletes to bag the first Olympic gold medal… that's why we established the RTG (Road to Gold) Programme. But we must work hard, the rest we leave it (to God),” he said.

So far, 18 athletes have qualified for Paris 2024, with the national golfers set to learn their fate on July 2. The actual number of athletes bound for Paris, including athletics and swimming, will be known on July 4.