HONOUR: BAM appeals for shuttler to be the flag bearer at Olympics
THE Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) will make a final decision today on whether Lee Chong Wei will be Malaysia's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics on July 27.
The BA of Malaysia (BAM) had sent an appeal letter to the OCM on Monday for Chong Wei to be considered as the nation's flag bearer due to his impressive credentials and the fact he would be making his final appearance in the Olympics.
Last Friday, Malaysia's chef-de-mission Tan Sri Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid announced that diver Pandelela Rinong was chosen as the nation's flagbearer in the presence of National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong during a visit to the national shuttlers' training at Juara Stadium.
However, the matter is far from settled with OCM secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi reiterating that Chong Wei and Pandelela were the candidates in contention, and the final selection will be done today.
OCM president Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar will make the announcement after chairing the executive board meeting.
"Chong Wei and Pandelela are the candidates in contention and we have until noon tomorrow (today) to finalise the selection. The flag bearer will be announced by Tunku Imran, said Kok Chi.
"OCM has the right to make the final selection but we are also in partership with NSC. Zolkples has clarified that Pandelela was only mentioned as a candidate last week but it was misconstrued as the final decision."
The fact that OCM is reconsidering, though Pandelela, was the initial choice, is a clear indication that Chong Wei is strongly tipped to be named as the flag bearer today.
BAM general manager Kenny Goh said the association felt that Chong Wei deserves the honour of becoming the flagbearer based on his track record compared to any other Malaysian athletes competing in the London Games.
"BAM sent in an appeal to OCM on Monday to reconsider the selection as the nation's flag bearer as Chong Wei deserves it. His achievements speak for itself and this will be his final appearance in the Olympics," said Kenny.
"BAM is hopeful that the request will be considered by OCM."
Kenny added that Chong Wei has given an assurance to BAM that he, regardless of the OCM's decision today, will attend the opening ceremony on July 27.
The men's singles begins at Wembley Stadium on July 28 but Chong Wei, as the top seed, will open his campaign in the group stage only a day later.