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1Malaysia, Borneo, Sarawak, Sarawakian

BAM tries to rob Pandelela Rinong of Olympic flag bearer honour

THE Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) is trying to rob Sarawakian Diving Queen Pandelela Rinong of the honour to carry the Malaysian flag at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics!

Yes, the BAM has had the nerve to request Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) members change their minds on who should be given this great privilege.

You see the BAM wants that person to be Datuk Lee Chong Wei.

Last week, chef-de-mission Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid and National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolkples Embong had both announced that Pandelela would lead the contingent.

Now it seems there is some flip-flopping, with OCM secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi saying a decision had not been made on the flag bearer.

The 19 OCM executive board members will reportedly cast their ballots on who should have the honour via e-mail today. The results will be known at 12pm.

This really makes my blood boil!!!

If a decision really had not been made, then when Pandelela’s name was announced to the world last week, the OCM should have clarified immediately.

The fact that they are only doing so now that the BAM has appealed for the honour to be given to Chong Wei makes the whole thing seem rather fishy.

How can they strip Pandelela of the honour?

This Sarawakian sporting superstar is the first Malaysian to finish in the top three overall in the four-leg FINA Diving World Series!

The FINA Diving World Series, which began in 2007, is only for the top eight ranked divers in the world.

Malaysia’s Sportswoman of the Year is indeed deserving of the honour. She was also to be the first woman to be given the honour!

To take it away from her now is a real slap in the face of her achievements, it’s a slap in the face for sportswomen, and a slap in the face for all Sarawakians.

The Bidayuh lass definitely should be the one representing Malaysia at the opening ceremony as flag bearer!

I hope the OCM and BAM realise how they have insulted all Sarawakians with their antics. Shame on them!

The Star’s reports:

June 30, 2012

OCM pick Pandelela

By Rajes Paul

KUALA LUMPUR: Young diver Pandelela Rinong will have the honour of being Malaysia’s flag bearer at the London Olympics.

Yesterday, chef-de-mission Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid announced that the diminutive Pandelela will lead the 28-member contingent during the opening ceremony on July 27.

Pandelela will be the country’s first woman to carry the flag in the Games.

Are you getting better?: Malaysian chef-de-mission Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid (centre) having a word with Lee Chong Wei, who is recovering from an ankle injury, at the Bukit Kiara Sport Complex Friday.

Sarji said the selection was based on Pandelela’s excellence leading up to the Games. The Sportswoman of the Year has catapulted Malaysian diving to top world ranking with her consistent exploits over the last few years.

She also did well to finish as the runner-up to Olympic champion Chen Roulin of China in the recent four-leg World Diving Series.

“Pandelela is young and has been excellent in her field of sport. I met with the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) and we decided that she is the best candidate for the job,” said Sarji after visiting the Olympic-bound shuttlers at Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara yesterday.

Sarji said Beijing Games silver medallist Lee Chong Wei had been the first choice to lead the contingent in his third and final Olympics but his competition schedule prevented it. Chong Wei’s campaign starts the day after the opening ceremony.

As for Pandelela, her competition begins on July 29 when she takes part in the women’s 3m springboard synchro with Cheong Jun Hoong.

“We decided that it was better to go with Pandelela as we don’t want to disturb Chong Wei’s focus,” he said.

The 19-year-old Pandelela, who will be competing in three disciplines at the London Games, was overjoyed with the news.

In a text message from China where she is training with the diving team, she said: “It’s great to be the flag bearer for my country at the London Games. It is such an honour.

“I’m very surprised with this news as there are more suitable athletes than me. I would like to thank OCM and NSC for giving me this chance to lead the Malaysian contingent.”

The selection will surely be an additional boost as Pandelela attempts to become the country’s first diving Olympic medal winner. She will also compete in the women’s 10m platform individual and synchro with Leong Mun Yee.

Sarji was happy with the commitment shown by shuttlers Chong Wei, Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying and Tee Jing Yi in training – with the Games only a month away.

“I met their coaches and spoke with all the players. It’s good to see Chong Wei showing steady progress. I observed him in training and he has the same agility in his game. We hope that he will be 100% fit by the start of the Games,” said Sarji.

“I have received good feedback on Koo and Tan too. Our singles player (Jing Yi) may have a low ranking but she is doing all that she can to be at her best. Our mixed pair (Peng Soon-Liu Ying) are also shaping up well.

“There are so many factors that can lead to an athlete winning a medal at the Games and, with the support of the people, I hope that our athletes will be able to deliver what is expected of them.”

Badminton is the only sport that has contributed medals in the Games.

It started with a bronze medal from Jalani and Razif Sidek at Barcelona 1992. Rashid Sidek nicked the bronze and Cheah Soon Kit-Yap Kim Hock the silver four years later in Atlanta.

Chong Wei ended a 12-year wait for a medal when he nailed the silver after losing to Lin Dan of China in Beijing 2008.

July 6, 2012

BAM want Chong Wei to be Olympic flag bearer

KUALA LUMPUR: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have made an appeal for Lee Chong Wei to be the flag bearer in his third and final Olympic Games in London although diver Pandelela Rinong was named for the task last week.

Apparently, there is some confusion over the issue just days before the official flag handing ceremony at the Prime Minister’s office in Putra­jaya on July 11.

The London Games open on July 27.

Yesterday, Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi said a decision had not been made on the flag bearer although chef-de-mission Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid and National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolkples Embong had jointly announced that Pandelela would lead the contingent.

NSC had written an official letter stating the case for Pandelela, giving Chong Wei’s competition schedule as the reason for not considering the nation’s best prospect for gold in London.

The badminton competition be­­gins a day after the opening ceremony and NSC said they did not want to put too much strain on Chong Wei as the ceremony could be long and tiring.

OCM, however, have the final say and insist that a decision has not been made.

According to Kok Chi, OCM president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar had made a directive yesterday to the 19 executive board members to cast a ballot via e-mail to determine the flag bearer.

They have to choose between Chong Wei and Pandelela and the credentials of both athletes, the 2011 Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, has been included to give the selectors a clear idea on who is the better candidate.

The outcome of the ballot will be revealed at noon today.

Yesterday, Chong Wei said he would attend the opening ceremony after missing out on the last two editions in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 because of the tight schedule.

“It doesn’t matter whether I attend as a flag bearer or just a member of the contingent. I don’t want to miss the atmosphere of the world’s biggest sporting event in my last Olympic outing,” said Chong Wei.

The group stage of the men’s singles starts a day after the opening ceremony but it is not certain whether top seed Chong Wei will get a day off. The draw will only be made on July 23.

Being the flag bearer is a singular honour usually accorded to the star athlete of a contingent. Chong Wei’s arch-rival Lin Dan will be carrying the flag for China as will Rafael Nadal for Spain.


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