Malaysia at the 2012 Olympics

Malaysia sent 29 athletes to London 2012. Some of them are very well known, some hardly.

Here are descriptions of how some of them did. You’ll find that for some, there are lengthy descriptions, while for others, none whatsoever. Why? Let’s just say I’d rather surf for medical carts

Lee Chong Wei – badminton’s men singles. As was in the 2008 Olympics, he is Malaysia’s only medalist, also a silver, also against the same opponent, but giving him much tougher opposition this time. It was reportedly the first time Lin Dan ever cried after winning a tournament. You can say Chong Wei’s unfortunate to be playing in the same era as Lin Dan, the greatest badminton player who ever lived.

Koo Kien Keat & Tan Boon Heong – badminton’s men doubles. Did better this time, advancing to the semis, as opposed to 2008′s quarterfinal loss to eventual gold medallists Markis Kido & Hendra Setiawan, although it still grates me that they failed to get a medal.

Azizulhasni Awang – track cycling (men’s sprint & keirin). In the men’s sprint, as was in 2008, he advanced as far as the quarterfinals, eventually finishing 8th. In the men’s keirin, he advanced to the final, but found the opposition too tough, and finished last (6th). With 2 cyclists declared joint bronze medal winners, you can say Azizul was 2 places short of a medal. However, this was an improvement on the last Olympics where he finished 7th.

Chan Peng Soon & Goh Liu Ying – badminton’s mixed doubles. Rather disappointingly, they lost all 3 of their preliminary matches.

Pandelela Rinong Pamg – diving. Flagbearer. Women’s individual 10m platform: she made history by being the first Malaysian woman to win an Olympic medal, and the first non-badminton Olympic medal for the country. She placed second in qualifying with 349.00, a hefy 43 points behind China’s Chen Ruolin, the reigning World, World Cup and Olympic champion. She qualified for the final with a slightly better score: 352.50, while Chen already shifted to a higher gear, breaking 400 points. In the final, she started badly, and after the 3rd dive she still placed 10th, until a great 4th dive (81.60) and a good final (76.80) clinched it. She’s 7.3 points behind the silver medallist, while Chen Ruolin as expected was on another level – her worst was 79.20 while all her other dives scored at least 84.80; her total 55.8 points higher than the second placer. Interestingly, the other China diver, Hu Yadan, was all over the place leading up to her final 3 dives, then suddenly turned on the style – her 4th dive scored 89.10, higher than even Chen’s best dive, and her final dive scored 86.40, equalling Chen’s best scores. Goodness knows what could have happened if Hu was more consistent. In the event, she finished ninth. In the synchronised 3m event, she and Cheong Jun Hoong finished 8th out of 8 pairs.

Cheong Jun Hoong – diving. Scored 272.45 in the 3m springboard preliminaries and missed the semis by 2 places. As comparison, the great Wu Minxia scored 387.75 in the preliminaries, and her score actually increased as she progressed, culminating with 414 in the final – the only person to break 400. In the synchronised 3m event, she and Pandelela finished 8th out of 8 pairs.

Ng Yan Yee – diving. With Cheong Jun Hoong, competed in the 3m springboard. She scored worse than Cheong, scoring 257.85 in the preliminaries, and was eliminated.

Heidi Gan – swimming: 10km marathon: finished 16th out of 24 qualifiers, with a time of 2:00:45.0. The gold medal winner clocked 1:57:38.2. From the results, it’s evident that the top 5 finishers had great endurance: their last lap is faster than any of their other laps. In Heidi case, she got progressively slower, her split time in the last lap 2 minutes and a half slower than the top competitors, whereas it was just a few seconds’ difference in the earlier laps.

Nurul Syafiqah Hashim – archery. Finished 60th out of 64th in the women’s individual ranking round. Her score was 599, far behind the leaders with 671. In the 1/32 elimination, she lost 2-6 to Lin Chia-En of Taiwan who placed 5th in the ranking round. What’s interesting to note is that Nurul started brightly, scoring 8-10-10 in her first set, outpointing Lin who scored 8-7-8. But then Lin proved to be the more consistent, scoring only a 7 while the rest were higher. In contrast, Nurul scored a terrible 2 in her first arrow of the 2nd set, then scored two 5s in the 3rd set. Anyway, in the next round, Lin herself was eliminated.

Haziq Kamaruddin – archery: lost in the first round of the men’s individual event.

Cheng Chu Sian – archery: lost in the first round of the men’s individual event, to compatriot Khairul Anual Mohamad.

Khairul Anuar Mohamad – archery: reached the quarterfinals of the men’s recurve individual before losing to Japan’s Takaharu Furukawa 2-6. Furukawa went on to get silver. Earlier, Khairul upset three-time Olympian (never won a medal though) Larry Godfrey of Great Britain 6-5.

Khoo Cai Lin – swimming

Lee Hup Wei – athletics

Leong Mun Yee – diving

Bryan Nickson Lomas, 22 – diving, men’s 10m platform: missed qualifying for the semi-finals by a single place. His 434.95 points was only good enough for 19th spot out of 32. Only the top 18 advance to the semis. The 18th spot was won by US diver David Boudia, with 439.15 points. Indeed, his 3rd dive was the key – a very poor 29.70 which definitely cost him the semis. If he’d scored just 52 in that dive, he would’ve placed ninth! Bryan’s coach Yang Zhuliang commented: “Bryan made mistakes that were uncharacteristic for him and paid the price with poor scores. There were couple of dives where he made mistakes that he should not have. This is due to his inexperience.” Inexperience? This is his third Olympics! In Athens 2004, he participated in the same event, and also missed the cut for the semifinals by a single place. In Beijing 2008, he fared worse, finishing 26th in the preliminaries. He is also Malaysia’s first world junior diving champion, winning the 3m springboard in the 2004 World Junior Championships. In contrast, China’s Qiu Bo, which led the standings in the preliminaries is younger and this was only his first Olympics. He was heads and shoulders above the rest, with 563.70 points – his WORST dives were 86.40, while the others all scored above 90! He and Huang Qiang also finished 8th out of 8 pairs in the synchronised 3m event. And this was just in the preliminaries – the top divers really turn on the style in the final. Huang Qiang – diving. He and Bryan Nickson Lomas finished 8th out of 8 pairs in the synchronised 3m event.

Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy – sailing

Noraseela Mohd Khalid – athletics

Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi – shooting (women’s 10m air rifle). After all the hype, with headlines like “the most pregnant Olympian ever”, she finished 34th out of 56 competitors, and was reported to have gone home on the 31st July, the first Malaysian to do so.

Fatehah Mustapa – cycling (track)

Muhamad Adiq Husainie Othman & Amir Mustafa Rusli – cycling (250km road). These guys were a total letdown, failing to even finish their event, reportedy due to tactical mistakes: “taking it too easy in uphill zones.”

Tee Jing Yi – badminton

Traisy Vivien Tukiet – diving: women’s individual 10m platform event: placed 22nd in qualifying, failed to make the semis – only the top 18 counted.

Yeoh Ken Nee – diving. Finished 10th in the 3m individual springboard, with a total of 437.45 points, far behind the gold medal winner who scored 555.90. Yeoh’s best dive scored 79.20, while even the silver medallist’s WORST dive scored 81.00. We are indeed very far behind the very best. Another thing I noticed is that the top 5 divers’ total scores generally increased as they progressed in the competition, with their best scores being in the final. In stark contrast, Yeoh’s scores actually *decreased* as he progressed, his finals score lower than his preliminary and semifinals scores. Still, his best score wouldn’t have placed him higher than ninth. More about Yeoh: he is the first Malaysian to have qualified for an Olympics diving individual final. Aged 29, he had been diving actively for Malaysia since the age of 12. He is Malaysia’s first medallist at a Junior World Championships, SEA Games, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.

Yu Peng Kean, 21 – men’s individual sabre fencing, ranked world no.69 (another report said 37): qualified on merit. He is the first Malaysian to qualify for Olympic fencing in 48 years – the last was Ronnie Theseira at Tokyo 1964. In the first round Yu defeated world no.28 Egyptian Zeid Mannad 15-12, then in the next round was thrashed 1-15 by world no. 5 and eventual gold medallist Aron Szilagyi of Hungary. Yu comemnted: “he is really strong and there was not much I could do as he was a much better fencer.”

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