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KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 -- Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican is hoping that national athletes will continue to carve out many more sweet memories throughout the year, especially ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games in July.
He said this after watching Malaysian athletes, especially the shuttlers and cyclists, excelling on the international stage over the past week.
“The victory of Lee Zee Jia over a top player like Viktor Axelsen in the All England Badminton Championships was one of those special moments. The performances of women’s doubles pair Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah and mixed doubles aces Goh Liu Ying-Chan Peng Soon were also inspiring.
“Then over the weekend, we had more good news, thanks to the achievements of Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom and Mohd Azizulhasni Awang at the 2021 Australian Track Cycling Championship in Brisbane in keirin and sprint,” he said in his posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter today.
Zii Jia created a sensation after a pulsating 30-29, 20-22, 21-9 win over defending champion Axelsen of Denmark in the men’s singles event at the All England on March 21.
Rising stars Pearly-Thinaah, who clinched the women’s doubles title at the recent Swiss Open, did well at the All England despite their 21-12, 20-22, 21-16 quarter-final loss to Japan’s Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida while Peng Soon-Liu Ying made it one step further before bowing out 14-21, 20-22 to the unseeded Japanese mixed doubles pair of Yuki Kaneka-Misaki Matsutomo in the last four.
Cycling then saw Shah Firdaus brushed aside defending champion Azizulhasni for the men’s keirin gold while Australian Matthew Richardson came in third at the Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane yesterday (March 28).
In the sprint event on Saturday, (March 27), Azizulhasni and Shah Firdaus bagged the silver and bronze respectively as the 22-year-old Richardson bettered Azizulhasni in the final for gold.
Yesterday, Malaysia's young shuttlers produced a smashing end to the 2021 Polish International Challenge by winning the men’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles titles.
Twenty-year-old Ng Tze Yong stunned second seed Pablo Abian, 35, of Spain 21-19, 21-11 in the men’s singles; Choong Hon Jian-Toh Ee Wei, both 20, bagged the mixed doubles crown by ousting Nicolas A. Mueller-Ronjan Stern of Switzerland 21-16, 21-12.
Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun made it a triple delight when they downed compatriots Yee Jun-Chia Wei Jie 21-17, 20-22, 21-19 in the all-Malaysian men’s doubles final.
“Congratulations to the athletes and teams. This is the result of all the hard work of everyone involved, including the coaches, management team, national sports associations, NSC (National Sports Council) and NSI (National Sports Institute) as well as those working behind the scenes,” he said.