And just like that, another Olympic season has passed.
Rio Olympics 2016 was ultimately a memorable one not just for our national athletes who left home to represent our country’s name proudly, but also for Malaysians everywhere as we were swept in a whirlwind of emotions watching our sportsmen and sportswomen compete against the rest of the world.
With the closing ceremony bringing an end to another successful Olympics, we should be prepared to greet the return of our national athletes with the same intensity as their valiant effort shown throughout this prestigious sports event because they come back with Malaysia’s best Olympic record to date.
Azizulhasni Awang for Men’s Keirin Cycling
With a nickname of ‘Pocket Rocketman’ due to his short stature but impressive speed, Azizulhasni managed to snag Malaysia’s first ever medal for this category. He managed to cross the finish line for the bronze behind defending champion Jason Kenny representing Britain and Dutchman Matthijs Buchli, a huge leap from his previous record of sixth place in the 2012 London Olympics.
Pandelela-Jun Hoong for Women’s Synchronised 10m Platform
Not only were they the first to win a medal for Malaysia in the Rio Olympics, the Pandelela-Jun Hoong pair also are the first women ever to win a silver medal for our country. The Malaysian duo finished with 344.34 points to finish second to China’s Chen Roulin-Liu Huixia, who won the gold medal with a 354.00 total. This also marks Malaysia’s Olympic winning entry into another diving category as Pandelela had previously obtained a bronze medal for Women’s 10 metre platform in the 2012 London Olympics.
Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying for Badminton Mixed Doubles
The first ever Malaysian mixed doubles pair to have reached the Olympic finals as well as achieve a medal in that category, Goh Liu Ying and Chan Peng Soon played a strong fight against Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir, where the pair lost 21-14, 21-12 after an intense match. This win sees an improvement in the Badminton category for Malaysia as previous achievements in other Olympics have always been in just the men’s singles and men’s doubles category.
Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong for Badminton Men’s Doubles
After Malaysia’s silver win for the Badminton men’s doubles category in the last 1996 Atlanta Olympics, 10 years later sees our country rising in this category once more with Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong. The pair had already made headlines when they advanced into the finals and netizens were thoroughly impressed with their performance in the finals against the more experienced Chinese pair, Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan.
Dato’ Lee Chong Wei for Badminton Men’s Singles
Three times making it into the Olympics finals for Badminton men’s singles, three times gaining a silver medal for Malaysia. How many people out there would be able to accomplish a feat such as Dato’ Lee Chong Wei? Though he may not have been able to achieve his Olympic gold dream, he successfully made history by defeating his long time arch-rival Lin Dan in what may have been one of the most intense Badminton matches to date.
So in total, we managed to achieve a total of 5 medals, doubling our previous score of 2 medals for the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and the London Olympics in 2012. 4 silvers and a bronze that we treasure and cherish as we acknowledge the blood, sweat and tears our 32 national athletes have poured throughout this competition to see our country’s flag rise up against thousands of others.
It should also be noted that this year is also Malaysia’s best when it comes to just the Badminton category with us receiving 3 medals this Olympics compared to the Atlanta Olympics 10 years ago where we received 2 for Men’s Doubles and Men’s Singles.
Although we see the potential retirement of Dato’ Lee Chong Wei upcoming, making us one superb athlete down for the next 2020 Olympics, the future for a gold remains bright as our pool of talented athletes continues to expand. In just 10 years we have managed to double our medal count, so who knows what the new generation of Malaysians have to offer to the 2020 Olympics happening in Tokyo, Japan.
In the coming days as we celebrate our 59th Independence Day, we should also honour our athletes who have united us as a nation to cheer them on, regardless of race, religion or creed.
Congratulations to all our Malaysian athletes for their hard work in the Rio Olympics 2016, and welcome home.
Feature Image Credit: astroawani.com