UNDER FIRE: Noraseela, Hup Wei claim it's not their fault as parent body opted to send them to Olympics
LEE Hup Wei and Noraseela Khalid have strongly refuted allegations that the London Olympics was a mere excursion for them as both feel they gave their best under trying circumstances.
The duo, in London as wild cards after no national athlete qualified on merit for the Games, said they were disappointed by their performances but felt that the criticism hurled at them was unjustified.
Hup Wei registered a best height of 2.16m in the high jump against his national record of 2.27m while Noraseela clocked 1:00.16s in the 400m hurdles. Her national record is 56.02s and her season's best 59.3s.
Their performances even prompted chef-de-mission Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid to say that in future, wild cards to the Olympics should be awarded to athletes being groomed for the future.
"There is no denying that I am not happy with my time. In fact, I had my doubts even before arriving in London as my times the whole season had not been good," said Noraseela, who denied that she froze in front of the 80,000 fans in the Olympic Stadium on Sunday.
There was controversy even before Noraseela and Hup Wei arrived in London as some athletes questioned the rationale in awarding them the wild cards.
"This shouldn't have been an issue as it was the association which decided on us. I accepted it as an honour and a challenge," said Noraseela.
Noraseela said she also saw no reason to apologise for her performance.
"What has happened has happened. I gave my best and there is no reason to apologise," said the 33-year-old, adding that she would make a decision on her future after recovering emotionally from the Olympics.
Hup Wei said his poor result was proof that he had yet to fully recover from the ankle injury he suffered in March.
"I believe I will need at least two years to recover fully. The Olympics is the highest stage for athletics and I competed despite not being in good form and health. This was all that I could produce," said Hup Wei, whose season's best is 2.21m.
Team manager Datuk R. Annamalai said Noraseela was set a target of 57 or 58 seconds while Hup Wei was expected to clear between 2.21m and 2.23m.