Saturday July 21, 2012
Malaysian team limited to 40 for Olympics march past
By S. RAMAGURU
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian team for the opening ceremony of the London Olympics on July 27 will be limited to 40.
The total strength of the national contingent is 60 – 30 athletes and 30 officials – but chef de mission Tun Ahmad Sarji said the organisers had allocated just 40 places for the march past.
“We have drawn up an initial list as per the request of the organisers. We will have to leave out 20 people but the list is by no means final,” he said, declining to name those selected.
“I understand there are some issues and we will resolve them before the event.”
Only the sailing team will not be able to make the opening ceremony as they will be at their venue in Weymouth. They include team manager Mohamed Afendy Abdullah and sailor Khairulnizam Afendy.
Currently, only the secretariat staff and archery team have checked into the Games Village. The badminton team, who are training in Bath, will move to London on July 24.
But they have opted to stay at a hotel adjacent to the venue in Wembley.
The teams who will be leaving for London on July 23 are cycling, diving, fencing, shooting, swimming and athletics.
Ahmad Sarji explained that there was no real issue with Lee Chong Wei joining the contingent in the march past.
“To be honest, our main concern was to protect the player as he was nursing an ankle injury. He’s our best hope for a gold medal and we felt it would be best if he rested before the competition.
“But I understand that he wants to take part in the opening ceremony. That’s fine so long as the badminton association are okay with the idea. The player and the officials need to sort it out and inform us and we will try our best to accommodate. Why should we prevent an athlete from taking part in the march past?” he asked.
Diver Pandalela Rinong will be the Malaysian flag bearer.