Vietnam has won its first-ever gold medal
since it began competing in the Olympic Games 64 years ago in 1952. Likewise, Singapore has won its first-ever gold medal
since it first entered the Olympics in 1948 – 68 years ago. Malaysia, as a country, first participated at the 1964 Olympic Games, although the country competed as “Malaya” in 1956.
Rio 2016 has been particularly generous to Vietnam and Singapore so far. Vietnam won it’s first-ever gold through an army colonel – Hoang Xuan Vinh – in the men’s 10-metre air pistol competition. Singapore won it’s first-ever gold from wonder-boy Joseph Schooling
in the 100m butterfly final. Naturally, Malaysia is under tremendous pressure to get its first-ever gold too.
Before 2016 Olympics in Brazil, which is still ongoing, Malaysia had gotten only 6 medals – none of them gold.
But it would take Malaysia 28 years (Malaya: 36 years) since it began competing in the games to get its first medal – bronze – in 1992 Barcelona through brothers Razif and Jalani Sidek in the badminton competition.
Malaysia’s luck turned for the better 4 years later in 1996 Atlanta where the pair of Cheah Soon Kit-Yap Kim Hock delivered the best medal – the silver in badminton
men’s doubles. The Sidek family contributed another bronze through Rashid Sidek in the same Olympic Games. For the next 2 subsequent Olympics in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004, Malaysia returned home empty-handed.
Lee Chong Wei
, the country’s top single badminton player, started contributing Olympic medal since 2008 Beijing Olympic where he won a silver, and subsequently another silver in 2012 London. At 7:30pm local time today, Lee Chong Wei will be competing in the Rio 2016 quarter-final – his third Olympics appearance
– but so does Chinese Lin Dan, his deadliest enemy.
By 2012 London, Malaysian sports have diversified
when Pandelela Rinong, unexpectedly, brought home a bronze in diving. This year in Rio 2016, Pandelela partnered with Cheong Jun Hoong for a silver in women synchronized 10-metre platform. Just like Pandelela who surprised everyone 4 years ago, Azizulhasni Awang brought home a bronze in cycling.
If the mission was to match 2012 London where the Malaysian team brought home 2 medals (a silver and a bronze), then it’s accomplished. However, it’s now a guarantee that Rio 2016 will be the country’s best Olympic since first participated in 1964 (or since 1956 as Malaya). The Malaysian team will bring back at least another 2 silvers
, and if Lee Chong Wei could make it – 3 medals.
Malaysian badminton men’s doubles pair Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong
has clinched a spot in the final of the men’s doubles after defeating Chinese pair Chai Biao-Hong Wei during their semi-final match at the Rio Olympics. This brings back the memory of 1996 Atlanta where Cheah Soon Kit-Yap Kim Hock cruised into final but lost to Indonesian pair of Ricky Subagja and Rexy Mainaky.
After 20 years, every single of 30-million Malaysians will be cheering for Kuala Lumpur-boy Goh V Shem and Johor-boy Tan Wee Kiong to bring home what Cheah Soon Kit-Yap Kim Hock couldn’t – the first-ever gold medal on Friday 11:30pm – or even better, the second-ever gold in case mixed-doubles of Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying
could deliver the gold tonight at 11:30pm.
Let’s hope Goh V Shem, who changed his name from Goh Wei Shem, could bring luck as his “V for Victory” stands for. However, if Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) technical director Morten Frost Hansen prediction is correct, the first and even twin gold medals
may not come from the men’s doubles pair Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong.
Instead, Morten Frost
thinks the mixed doubles pair Penang-boy Chan Peng Soon and Malacca-girl Goh Liu Ying will deliver the first-ever gold medal for Malaysia tonight, follows by top player Lee Chong Wei. Mixed doubles pair Peng Soon-Liu Ying will meet Indonesia’s world’s number three Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir for the gold medal.
Frost was particularly impressed and surprised
that World No. 11 Peng Soon-Liu Ying managed to demolish World No. 6 Xu Chen-Ma Jin from China on Monday as it was the Malaysian’s third win over the Chinese in 10 meetings. Considering the Indonesians are the favourite, the hope is Peng Soon-Liu Ying could retain their momentum as the underdog.
Psychologically, if the Malaysian mixed doubles can deliver a gold tonight, the badminton team will be all fired-up for another 2 golds in men’ doubles and men’s single. However, if they couldn’t deliver, the pressure will be on doubles pair Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong. And it has been proven many times that most of the time, excessive pressure doesn’t work well
on Malaysian badminton players.
As the coolest, calmest and most consistent
player on planet Earth, hopefully Morten Frost has transferred the necessary skills to all the badminton players. The remaining of Malaysian badminton players should realize that after losing both mixed doubles and men’s doubles to Malaysia in the semi-finals; it’s China who is under extreme pressure, NOT Malaysia.
The wish is to get mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying to win tonight’s gold medal. That will ease the pressure and allow men’s doubles pair Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong to wreck havoc the Chinese team. With 2 gold medals, it will be a personal revenge
between (hopefully) Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan, the Chinese player who had denied the Malaysian of not one but two gold medals.
Is it too greedy to hope for 3 gold medals before the Rio 2016 closing ceremony? Absolutely not! After the local football (soccer) consistently going to the dogs, badminton is the remaining sport which Malaysia excels in international competitions. Sure, there’re diving and cycling but badminton has been the trademark
of the country’s sport excellence since before Independence.
Regardless whether Malaysia will bag another 3 silvers, or 2 silvers and 1 gold, the Rio 2016 is definitely the best Olympic Games in the history of Malaysian Olympics. Medals aside, there’s a possibility of a declaration of a national public holiday
if the badminton boys and girl could deliver 3 golds. But even with 1 gold, the country is on par with Vietnam and Singapore.