24th July, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR: A tiny corner of England was transformed into ‘Little Malaysia’ when the Olympic Council of Malaysia’s (OCM) delegation to the London Olympic Games was officially welcomed into the Olympic Village, Sunday.
In a statement yesterday, the OCM said the Malaysian athletes and officials were welcomed by Olympic Village Mayor, Sir Charles Allen.
Malaysia’s chef de mission Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid said: “It was exquisite, very colourful and somehow, instilling the Olympic spirit.
“It was well-orchestrated. I’m very impressed with the brevity of the ceremony and the impact on the participants.”
Looking ahead to the Olympics which will officially open on July 27, Ahmad Sarji said the Malaysian contingent was ready to claim the country’s first gold medal.
“We are, of course, placing our faith in Lee Chong Wei in badminton, but there are three other sports where we also have a reasonable chance of getting medals—archery, diving and cycling,” he said.
Malaysia badminton star Chong Wei, whose Olympic dream was threatened by a serious ankle injury, targetted a medal on Saturday.
Lee, the world number two, who has been receiving stem cell treatment on torn ankle ligaments sustained at the Thomas Cup in China in May, said the injury helped take some of the gold medal pressure off his shoulders.
“I have just come back from injury and there is less pressure. But it is my last Olympics so I want to medal for my country,” said Lee, who also lost the world Number One ranking to arch-rival Lin Dan of China during his recovery period.
“I don’t feel the pressure but there is still a week. Maybe when I get to London I will start to feel the Olympic feeling and maybe then I will feel the pressure.”
Lee became world Number One in 2008 after the Beijing Olympics, but that achievement was overshadowed by having lost the gold medal match to Lin.
“A gold medal will validate my career. I don’t have an Olympic gold medal, my country doesn’t have an Olympic gold medal, this gold is important for me and for my country,” said the 29-year-old.