SEPANG, Aug 9 — Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games silver medalist, Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang arrived safely in Malaysia along with the last batch of our country’s contingent this afternoon at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, receiving a modest but warm welcome. in compliance with physical distancing guidelines.
He was joined by fellow national cyclist Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom and national dive queen Pandelela Rinong who were on the same Malaysia Airlines MH071 flight from Narita International Airport in Japan.
Mohd Azizulhasni, dubbed ‘The Pocket Rockeman’ due to his small stature and speed on the track, put on a good performance to win the silver in the men’s keirin event at Izu Velodrome yesterday, falling short of the elusive gold medal, which was won by defending champion Jason Kenny of Great Britain.
Also with them were Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria, National Sports Council director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail, National Sports Institute support team and secretariat members.
All 28 individuals who returned today will undergo the 14-day mandatory quarantine at a hotel.
Arriving at 5.20 pm, they were greeted by Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal, Youth and Sports Ministry secretary-general Datuk M Noor Azman Taib and National Sports Institute chief executive officer Ahmad Faedzal Md Ramli.
A total of 30 athletes represented Malaysia at the Tokyo Olympics, which took place from July 23 to Aug 8, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Malaysian contingent, however, failed to achieve the three-medal target, including a gold medal, at the Games, returning with a silver courtesy of Mohd Azizulhasni and a sole bronze by Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik in the men’s badminton doubles.
The performance equals the Malaysian contingent’s second-best showing during the 2012 London Games, when Datuk Lee Chong Wei won the silver in the men’s badminton singles and Pandelela Rinong won the bronze in the 10m women’s platform event, becoming the first diver and woman athlete from Malaysia to win an Olympic medal.
Malaysia’s best showing at the Olympics since the country’s first appearance at the 1956 Melbourne Games came during the 2016 Rio Games, with a medal haul of four silver and one bronze medal.
Based on their results at the Tokyo Games, young athletes such as Aaron, Wooi Yik, Nur Dhabitah Sabri (diving), Syaqiera Mashayikh (archery), Azreen Nabila Alias (athletics) and Phee Jinq En (swimming) have shown enough potential to shine in the upcoming Paris Olympics in 2024.