KUALA LUMPUR: The National Sports Council (NSC) believe the country can depend on several sports, not only badminton, to deliver an Olympic gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo edition.
NSC director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said athletes in other sports are also making inroads and have the potential to win Malaysia’s first Olympic title.
“In addition to badminton, several other sports have been identified as gold medal potentials at the Olympics. Among them are cycling, diving and karate,” Shapawi told Bernama News Channel here on Friday.
“Previously, we only looked at badminton (as a gold medal prospect). Now, we have other capable athletes in other sports who can deliver.
“For instance, diver Cheong Jun Hoong broke China’s dominance by winning the women’s 10m platform individual world title (in Budapest, last year) while cyclist Azizulhasni Awang also became world champion (in Hong Kong) last year.
Shapawi said next year will be important as the national athletes will be competing in Olympic qualifying events.
“Through the restructuring of the national training programmes, athletes who have been placed in Tier One and Two, are now required to qualify for the Olympics.
“So far, two national sailors have done so through the Indonesia Asian Games,” he added.
The sailors who have qualified are Khairul Nizam Affendy and Nur Shazrin Abdul Latif.
NSC also hopes karate exponents Syakilla Salni Jefry Krisnan (kumite) along with Lim Chee Wei and Celine Lee Xin Yi (both kata) will qualify for the Olympic. Syakilla is seen as an Olympic medal prospect in Tokyo.