Joe Ee, Aznil most successful M’sian athletes in Birmingham - OCM

09/08/2022 02:32 AM

From Amiril Muttaqien Meketar

BIRMINGHAM, Aug 8 (Bernama) -- Young rhythmic gymnast Ng Joe Ee and weightlifter Mohd Aznil Bidin emerged as the most successful national athletes as the curtains come down on the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games today.

Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria said this was based on the fact that Joe Ee clinched two gold medals in the ball and ribbon disciplines while Aznil, who bagged gold in the men’s 61-kilogramme (kg) event, broke three Games records - snatch (127kg); clean & jerk (158kg) and total lift of 285kg.

Norza, speaking at a media conference about the performance of the national athletes at Birmingham 2022, said the success of Aznil and his teammates proved that the weightlifting squad were the most outstanding team overall after winning two gold medals and one silver as well as breaking four Games records. 

Mohamad Aniq Kasdan contributed the other weightlifting gold medal in the men’s 55kg category while Muhammad Erry Hidayat chipped in with a silver in the 73kg category.

Mohamad Norza was also impressed with the spirit and determination shown by the national rhythmic gymnastics team in proving that nothing - not even the absence of their Russian coaches who were barred from entering the United Kingdom - could stop them from excelling here.

He was equally impressed with the extraordinary performance of Paralympic powerlifting gold medallist Bonnie Bunyau Gustin in setting a new Commonwealth Games record in the lightweight category with a 220kg lift.

The OCM boss also singled out the national shuttlers and paddlers for praise, with the badminton players raking in two golds, one silver and two bronzes while the table tennis team stunned defending champions India in the women’s team quarter-finals en route to winning the team silver medal. 

Mohamad Norza also drew attention to the fact that eight out of the 28 young athletes aged below 21 won medals this time.

Besides Joe Ee, 16, and Mohamad Aniq, 20, the other six youngsters were paddlers Choong Javen (17 years old, silver), Karen Lyne (15, two silvers), Tan Ai Xin (17, silver); squash ace Aifa Azman (20, bronze); diver Gabriel Gilbert Daim (16, silver); and judoka Amir Daniel Abdul Majeed (17, bronze).

“Amir Daniel, who is 17, proved that his selection for the Commonwealth Games was not to just fill the quota when he managed to win a bronze in the 73kg event,” he said.

Mohamad Norza, who is also Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president, was also full of praise for shuttler Ng Tze Yong.

He said that although men’s professional singles ace Lee Zii Jia had pulled out of the Games, replacement shuttler Tze Yong proved his capability by giving the other world-class players a run for their money.

“Tze Yong was not set any targets. He showed that he is able to shoulder the responsibility placed on him, including defeating (India’s) Kidambi Srikanth 21-19, 8-21, 21-16 in the mixed team final to guide the badminton team to the targeted gold medal,” he added.

Tze Yong, who is making his Commonwealth Games debut here, performed admirably when he went on to clinch the men’s singles silver after losing 21-19, 9-21, 16-21 to India’s top-ranked player Lakshya Sen in the individual final.

Besides Aznil, Mohamad Norza said the other seniors, including national track cyclist Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom, also did well for Malaysia in Birmingham 2022.

“Shah Firdaus proved that he can fill the vacancy left by Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang when he won the men’s keirin bronze medal. Attention will now shift to him (Shah Firdaus) to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics,” he said.

Malaysia ended up 10th in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games medal standings after raking in seven golds, eight silvers and eight bronzes, thus equalling the seven-gold achievement at the 2018 edition in Gold Coast, Australia.