Nation’s Olympic flag-bearer…does it matter?…It matters now!

Posted on July 6, 2012


Pandelela Rinong was given the honour to lead the Malaysian contingent as our nation’s flag-bearer in this upcoming Olympics.

Now, some people in Badminton Association of Malaysia think this honour should be taken away from Malaysia’s Sportswoman of the Year, and instead be given to Lee Chong Wei (he’s the Sportsman of the Year, by the way).

I have nothing against our national badminton hero Datuk Lee. I would have no problem whatsoever, if they had announced him to be the flag-bearer from the beginning; as with other Malaysians, I would’ve actually been proud to have him lead the team into the Olympic stadium and I think it would have been an excellent choice.

But……since they’ve already named OUR Pandelela as flag-bearer, I now have a very serious problem about anyone taking that away from her!

By insisting that Pandelela be replaced as flag-bearer, I feel that BAM is being a wee bit disrespectful. But that’s just me! I don’t know how others may feel about it. (Read how blogger Parochial Sarawakian feels about it, here.)

The Star in its report (below) seems to be with the badminton bully boys on this issue, when it pointed out in the last sentence:
“Being the flag bearer is a singular honour usually accorded to the star athlete of a contingent. Chong Wei’s arch-rival Lin Dan will be carrying the flag for China as will Rafael Nadal for Spain.”

Apparently, the big guns in the Malaysian Olympic council will make up their mind on this matter today. I hope it will be good news and Sarawak’s golden girl gets to be the flag bearer after all.

Actually, at the end of the day, my biggest hope is that Pandelela and Chong Wei and in fact all our country’s athletes will do us proud in these London Olympic Games.

Let’s not lose focus of the fact that it’s our sportsmen’s and sportswomen’s performance in their respective Olympic events that is of greater importance…and to give our support either from the stands or from wherever we are watching them.

But to BAM and to OCM, even though the performance and well-being of all our athletes in the Olympic games should be your top priority… doesn’t mean that you can treat the appointment of the flag bearer as something trivial.

All I can say is, I hope you all do the right thing and not take the honour away from Pandelela.














How The Star reported it:

Friday July 6, 2012

BAM want Chong Wei to be Olympic flag bearer

KUALA LUMPUR: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have made an appeal for Lee Chong Wei to be the flag bearer in his third and final Olympic Games in London although diver Pandelela Rinong was named for the task last week.

Apparently, there is some confusion over the issue just days before the official flag handing ceremony at the Prime Minister’s office in Putra­jaya on July 11.

The London Games open on July 27.

Yesterday, Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi said a decision had not been made on the flag bearer although chef-de-mission Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid and National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolkples Embong had jointly announced that Pandelela would lead the contingent.

NSC had written an official letter stating the case for Pandelela, giving Chong Wei’s competition schedule as the reason for not considering the nation’s best prospect for gold in London.

The badminton competition be­­gins a day after the opening ceremony and NSC said they did not want to put too much strain on Chong Wei as the ceremony could be long and tiring.

OCM, however, have the final say and insist that a decision has not been made.

According to Kok Chi, OCM president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar had made a directive yesterday to the 19 executive board members to cast a ballot via e-mail to determine the flag bearer.

They have to choose between Chong Wei and Pandelela and the credentials of both athletes, the 2011 Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, has been included to give the selectors a clear idea on who is the better candidate.

The outcome of the ballot will be revealed at noon today.

Yesterday, Chong Wei said he would attend the opening ceremony after missing out on the last two editions in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 because of the tight schedule.

“It doesn’t matter whether I attend as a flag bearer or just a member of the contingent. I don’t want to miss the atmosphere of the world’s biggest sporting event in my last Olympic outing,” said Chong Wei.

The group stage of the men’s singles starts a day after the opening ceremony but it is not certain whether top seed Chong Wei will get a day off. The draw will only be made on July 23.

Being the flag bearer is a singular honour usually accorded to the star athlete of a contingent. Chong Wei’s arch-rival Lin Dan will be carrying the flag for China as will Rafael Nadal for Spain.

Posted in: Sarawak, Sports