And the flag bearer for Malaysia at the London Olympic Games opening ceremony will be…Sarawak’s golden girl of diving, Pandelela Rinong!
Correction…Malaysia’s golden girl of diving, Pandelela Rinong.
After the attempt by the bully boys at BAM to try to dump her, I am relieved that cool heads prevailed at the Olympic Council of Malaysia and that Malaysia’s Sportswoman of the Year will indeed lead out the national team at the opening ceremony.
When she carries out this honour on July 27th, she will also become the first Malaysian woman athlete to do so.
Well done, OCM! I think you’ve done the right thing.
Congratulations to Pandelela! You have already done Sarawak and Malaysia proud and I’m sure you’ll do great in the Games.
For Datuk Lee Chong Wei, you’re still our hero and please know that we will be cheering for you and all the athletes representing our nation in London, soon.
For BAM, next time if you want a flag bearer, please make sure you inform OCM just a wee bit earlier, you know, to avoid any heartaches and consternations. It’s not a small matter after all is it, so don’t treat it as trivially as you have done. That’s all.
How The Star reported it:
Shuttler Chong Wei out, Pandelela first M’sian woman flag bearer in London Olympics
KUALA LUMPUR: It’s official. Diver Pandelela Rinong will be Malaysia’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics on July 27.
Pandelela was given the nod ahead of former world No. 1 shuttler Lee Chong Wei – winning the most number of votes to become the first woman athlete to carry the flag for Malaysia at a sports meet.
Twelve of the 19 Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) executive board members voted via e-mail yesterday with nine favouring Pandelela.
The selection of the flag bearer should have been a straight-forward affair, with the OCM board making the decision.
However, it became an issue when chef-de-mission Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid announced on June 29 that Pandelela had been picked ahead of Chong Wei as recommended by the National Sports Council (NSC).
This prompted OCM to deny that a final decision had been made.
In the midst of it all, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) submitted an appeal for Chong Wei to be considered for the task.
Yesterday, after confirming that Pandelela was the best candidate, OCM president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar took a dig at BAM, who had wanted their 2008 Beijing Games silver medallist to be given the honour as this will be his third and last Olympics.
However, BAM’s last-minute appeal put many people in an awkward position.
“I’m surprised with BAM’s action. This isn’t the right way to go about choosing the flag bearer. This isn’t a beauty contest,” said Imran, who was visibly irked with BAM’s last ditch effort to sway the decision towards Chong Wei.
Tunku Imran felt BAM should focus on getting Chong Wei fit and ready for his event, which will begin a day after the opening ceremony.
“We have good reasons for selecting Pandelela. I wish we didn’t have to come to this where the matter has been blown into a big thing,” said Tunku Imran.
“OCM choose the flag-bearer … not the other way around. We offered Chong Wei the opportunity to be the flag bearer four years ago but he declined because he wanted to be fully focused on his event then.
“Chong Wei isn’t 100% fit and it is better that he stays focused on his mission of winning a gold medal in his last Olympic Games. I would suggest that the badminton team manager (Ng Chin Chai) think through on whether Chong Wei should be part of the march past. That I leave to the team manager’s discretion. They know Chong Wei’s condition best.”
Athletes are expected to be at the opening ceremony at least four hours before the start and it could take hours before they actualy leave the venue at the end of the day.
BAM, however, are expected to let Chong Wei take part in the opening ceremony as the top seed is likely to get a bye on the first day of the badminton competition on July 28.
The flag handing over ceremony will take place at the Prime Minister’s office in Putrajaya on Wednesday.