KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — The Malaysian contingent has been assigned a new target of six gold medals for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games scheduled to take place this July 28 to August 8.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, who announced the target, said the six golds are expected to come from diving, weightlifting, badminton, rhythmic gymnastics, lawn bowling and powerlifting.
“My ministry is confident that all athletes are prepared for the Games and will do their utmost to put on their best performance in Birmingham. “We wish our national heroes all the best in facing their challenge,” he said at a media conference after the Jalur Gemilang flag presentation to the Malaysia contingent to the 2022 Commonwealth Games here today.
Ahmad Faizal said the new target was made based on research and discussions between the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM), the National Sports Council (NSC) and the National Sports Institute.
This follows the withdrawal of national men’s singles badminton player Lee Zii Jia and women’s squash player S. Sivasangari, who was involved in a traffic accident.
The OCM announced last month that a target of seven gold medals was set for the national contingent, which matched Malaysia’s achievement in the 2018 edition in Gold Coast, Australia.
Badminton was supposed to contribute two golds, while rhythmic gymnastics, lawn bowling, weightlifting, squash and powerlifting are all expected to contribute a gold medal each.
Ahmad Faizal said diving was added to the list of potential gold medal sports based on the national diving squad’s achievement of winning two bronze medals at the recent World Championship.
Meanwhile, chef de mission Datuk Shahrul Zaman Yahya believed that the contingent can achieve the target and did not deny the possibility of a surprise windfall exceeding the set expectations.
“We need to be realistic, if we target six but we will keep trying to win more, so it will be a bonus,” he said, adding that diving, badminton and weightlifting were capable of contributing more than one gold in Birmingham.
The national contingent to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games contains a total of 105 athletes in 14 sports, including four para-sports. — Bernama