Lee Zii Jia Joins Goh Liu Ying As Malaysian Flagbearers For Tokyo 2020 Olympics

This comes after national archer Khairul Anuar Mohamad asked to be replaced.

Cover image via AFP/The Straits Times & Osman Adnan/New Straits Times

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National singles badminton star Lee Zii Jia has been announced as one of the Malaysian flagbearers for the upcoming Olympics, replacing archer Khairul Anuar Mohamad

In a report by Bernama yesterday, 6 July, Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria confirmed that shuttler Lee Zii Jia will replace archer Khairul Anuar Mohamad as one of the flagbearers at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on 23 July.

According to Norza, the archer had asked to be replaced as he will be in action the very next day, so as to not hinder his preparations. Khairul is set to compete in the qualifying round of the recurve mixed team event at the Yumenoshima Park Achery Field on 24 July.

OCM president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria.

Image via Utusan Malaysia

Following his withdrawal, there will now be two shuttlers carrying the Malaysian flag at the upcoming Olympics

Lee Zii Jia will be joined by mixed doubles ace Goh Liu Ying, who had been given the honour alongside Khairul Anuar in an earlier announcement.

"The OCM meeting this morning (6 July) decided to name a combination of a veteran and a newcomer," said Norza, before elaborating that 23-year-old Lee was chosen as he is an Olympic debutant and amongst the country's next generation of medal hopefuls.

32-year-old Goh had previously competed in the Rio 2016 Olympics, where she won a silver medal alongside partner Chan Peng Soon.

This will be the first time that Malaysia will have more than one flagbearer

The role of flagbearer for a national delegation at the Olympics is largely ceremonial, and is akin to being the 'team captain' of the country at the event.

They will be responsible for leading out the country during the 'Parade of Nations' at the Opening Ceremony, as well as carrying the country's flag during the 'Parade of Flags' at the event's closing.

Historically, Malaysia has always chosen a single athlete to fulfil this role. Notable former flagbearers include Lee Chong Wei (Rio 2016), Pandalela Rinong (London 2012), and Azizulhasni Awang (Beijing 2008).

Here is the full list of all the Malaysian athletes who have qualified for Tokyo 2020:

Take a look at this artist rendering of the Jalur Gemilang as a Japanese samurai:

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