TOKYO, July 27 — Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican has expressed disappointment over the criticisms hurled by netizens against shuttlers Goh Liu Ying-Chan Peng Soon when they had given their best at the Tokyo Olympics and also contributed a lot to the country.

He said it was wrong to mock them just because they failed to make an impact at this Olympics after having brought glory to the country previously.

“Personally, I’m very disappointed (with the negative comments) because they have done their best. We must remember that five years ago, they were praised for raising the Jalur Gemilang (at Rio 2016 Olympics) … our country was honoured because of them.

“It was not easy for them to return for the Tokyo edition five years later. In fact, Liu Ying and Peng Soon have made three appearances in the Olympics spanning 12 years, and this is a long time for them to bring glory to the country,” he said when met at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza.

Rio 2016 silver medallist Peng Soon-Liu Ying failed to win any of their three group matches at the Tokyo Olympics and that resulted in netizens hurling online abuses on the pair on social media.

In their opening match, the national number one pair fell 18-21, 21-10, 16-21 to Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet. They then went down 12-21, 15-21 to Germans Mark Lamsfuss-Isabel Herttrich.

In their final group match on Monday (July 26), world number seven Peng Soon-Liu Ying lost 13-21, 19-21 to China’s world number three pair Wang Yilyu-Huang Dong Ping.

Reezal Merican said such negative comments should not have happened as they could demoralise the other national athletes still fighting for glory at the Games.

“It’s unfortunate that when our athletes do well, they are praised sky high but when they do not perform up to expectations, they are criticised. This is what has happened to Liu Ying and Peng Soon,” he said.

“We still have Lee Zii Jia (men’s singles), Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang and Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom (track cycling) and many more. Thirty Malaysian athletes – that’s like a family representing the Malaysian people’s aspirations. Mock one, the others will feel it too,” he said.

As such, he urged Malaysian sports fans to continue to give their full support to the national athletes in Tokyo.

“They win, we win. They lose, we are part of their disappointment too. Don’t think that we are the only ones disappointed, they are 100 times more disappointed,” he said.


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