Youth & Sports Minister: Malaysian Contingent Has Target Of 3 Medals At Tokyo 2020

This target has been set after requests by athletes and includes Malaysia's ever elusive first Olympic gold medal.

Cover image via Aswadi Alias/New Straits Times

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Youth and Sports Minister, Reezal Merican Naina Merican, has announced that Malaysia aims to achieve at least three podium finishes at the Tokyo Olympics

In a report by Bernama, the minister said that the target of three medals includes Malaysia's first ever Olympic gold.

He says that this target was set after considering the views of many parties, including the athletes themselves.

"They (the athletes) do not need additional pressure, but they do not want to deny (their abilities)," Reezal told a virtual press conference on 19 July, adding, "I also can't deny the determination among the athletes who want to be the one who brings joy to Malaysians."

It was also reasoned that the target symbolises the bond between Malaysians and the national athletes, who will face daunting challenges to bring glory to the country.

"Because of their hard work, I have to honour that too. The medal target is our way of showing our trust as Malaysians, the government's trust in them," the 48-year-old said.

Reezal underlines which sports are of focus

"Realistically, badminton, track cycling, and diving represent the country's main hope of succeeding in Tokyo," he was quoted as saying.

After coming agonisingly close at the previous Rio 2016 Olympics – where Malaysia achieved it's best ever Olympic showing of four silvers and one bronze despite having no target set – Reezal hopes that the current line-up can do one better.

National divers Cheong Jun Hoong and Pandalela Rinong after coming in second at Rio 2016. They will not be defending their synchronised 10m platform silver medal as a pair at Tokyo, as Pandalela has been paired with veteran Leong Mun Yee.

Image via AFP/New Straits Times

Reezal also announced that a target of three gold medals are set for the contingent participating in the Tokyo Paralympic Games, in a bid to match their 2016 medal haul

For the Paralympians, he expects athletics, powerlifting, badminton, and archery to secure the goods.

A total of 30 athletes will be representing Malaysia at the Tokyo Olympics proper, contesting 27 events in 10 sport categories. For the Paralympics, the contingent is smaller at 22 in total.

The upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics will take place from 23 July to 8 August, whereas the Tokyo Paralympic Games will follow from 24 August to 5 September.

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