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Malaysia’s Flag Bearer for the 2012 London Olympics


After further discussion and critical consideration, 12 of the 19 Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) executive board members have voted for Pandelela Rinong as the Malaysia’s flag bearer for the upcoming London Olympics this 27th July.

Pandelela Rinong

Pandelela Rinong

However, not all was pleased with the OCM’s choice of flag bearer. Several parties were not happy when the chef-de-mission Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid and National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolkples Embong jointly announced the shocking news.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) had expected former world No.1 badminton player, Datuk Lee Chong Wei, to have the honor of bearing the national flag at the Olympic Games. They then appealed for Chong Wei to be considered for the honor as the Games would be his third and final participation in the Olympics!

Why Lee Chong Wei is not chosen as the flag bearer

Lee Chong Wei Olympics

As a response to the appeal made by BAM, OCM President Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Jaafar replied that he is totally surprised with BAM’s action as this is viewed as inappropriate. He said choosing the flag bearer for the Olympics is nothing like a beauty contest. Tunku Imran said that Pandelela Rinong was selected to be the next flag bearer because she deserves it too; after all, she was the 2011 Sportswoman of the Year, receiving the award alongside Chong Wei who was the Sportsman of the Year.

Furthermore, he added that Chong Wei had been given the chance to be the flag bearer four years ago but he declined as he wanted to focus on his matches then. Tunku Imran also said that Chong Wei is not 100% fit and it would be wiser for him to stay focused on his mission of winning a gold medal in this year’s Olympic Games, especially since this would be his last Games. Likewise, the decision of whether Chong Wei should be part of the march past is at the team manager’s discretion.

Olympics 2012

Amidst all the commotion between OCM and BAM, Chong Wei expressed his wish to attend the opening ceremony. After all, he has missed the last two editions in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 due to his tight playing schedules. The badminton player also said that he does not mind if he attends the ceremony as just a member of the contingent; he just doesn’t want to miss the atmosphere of the world’s biggest sporting event this year.

All athletes are expected to be at the opening ceremony at least four hours before the start and the event will definitely take hours.

As for the flag handling over ceremony, the event will take place at the Prime Minister’s office in Putrajaya on Wednesday. The nation’s top athlete is usually bestowed the honor of carrying the country’s flag, so it is no wonder that Chong Wei and BAM very much have interest in being the flag bearer but Pandalela surely deserves the privilege too. Other flag bearers representing their nations in the opening ceremony of the Olympics include Rafael Nadal for Spain and Chong Wei’s arch-rival, Lin Dan from China.

  1. Smiley - UnHappy-Tiger says:

    I’m obviously devastated by the fact that Chong Wei is sidelined as flag carrier. Surely he’s the top sportman in Malaysia. Who’s Pandelela anyway ? Unknown in her own country whats more in international scene? I hope it is not ‘political’ in this decision to sideline Chong Wei. The entire nation would be happy to see Chong Wei , our one and only genuine medal hopeful in Olympics to lead the contingent in Olympics stadium. Shame on the decisionmakers in Olympics council , sh1t to you guys !

  2. Nur Lyanna Wan Yusof says:

    To the above poster, how convenient of you to question who Pandelela is, just a few days before she became the first Malaysian woman to win an Olympic medal. 🙂

    My guess is that the OCM would want to feel more appreciated next time. Once you turn down an offer, what is the point in taking a chance of getting rejected twice? I know i wouldnt be offering favours to anyone who has declined me.

    I’d say the council made a great decision in choosing Pandelela for the job.

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