Bernama | May 31, 2016 19:58 MYT
KUALA LUMPUR: National athletes who have qualified for the Olympics should think carefully before making a decision to withdraw from the most prestigious sports event in the world.
Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) secretary-general, Datuk Low Beng Choo said sports associations and athletes must know that not all sports allow replacement when an athlete decides to withdraw.
“Eligibility for some sports depends on national ranking. For example in weightlifting, entry is by country name and if something happens, an athlete can be replaced.
“But some sports they are not based on national ranking (if an athlete pulls out), then you miss the chance. If one withdraws, it doesn’t mean that Malaysia can replace somebody because in many cases an athlete from another country will fill the slot instead,” Low said.
Yesterday, OCM president Tan Sri Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’afar said the council would not stop any athlete who wished to withdraw from the Olympics following the Zika virus outbreak in the host country.
Tunku Imran had earlier said he believed Rio de Janeiro was safe for all athletes and the organising committee had taken precautionary steps to handle the matter.
The 2016 Olympic Games is scheduled to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from Aug 5 to 21.
So far, 22 national athletes have qualified for the games on merit.
They are Khairul Anuar Mohamad (archery), Mohd Azizulhasni Awang, Fatehah Mustapa (cycling); Ooi Tze Liang, Cheong Jun Hoong, Nur Dhabitah Sabri, Pandelela Rinong, Ng Yan Yee (diving); Khairulnizam Mohd Affendy, Nur Shazrin Latiff (sailing), Jonathan Wong Guanjie (shooting), Welson Sim (swimming), Nauraj Singh (athletics) and Mohd Hafifi Mansor (weightlifting).
In badminton, singles champion Datuk Lee Chong Wei, men’s doubles Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong, mixed doubles Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying, women’s singles player Tee Jing Yi and women’s doubles Vivian Hoo/Woon Khe Wei also qualified.
The national contingent can send nine athletes in four sports events namely swimming, golf, archery and athletics to the games according to country quota.