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CHEERING THEM ON: Malaysian supporters meet national athletes in London
LONDON: THE courage of three Malaysian cyclists, who pedalled through more than10countriesin173daystoarrive here just at the start of Olympics 2012, sums up the national mood.
Bakar Noordin, 50, Soh Peng Hui, 61, and Jacky Hong, 35, braved the cold, rain and heat, all in the spirit of the Olympics to provide support for the national team here.
Their “Road to London” expedition, organised by St John Ambulance, started on Feb 4.
Another two cyclists, from the Kembara Penang- London expedition, Abdul Razak Khamis and Chew Lim, are expected to arrive today.
The trio were among the many supporters of the Malaysian Olympic contingent, who had gathered at Pak Awie’s restaurant in Paddington, on the eve of the Olympics for a meet-thefans session with the athletes to show their support.
The “meet-the-fans” session was organised by the Malaysian Supporters’ Club, which was set up to support Malaysian athletes.
Club president Dzuhair Hanafiah said members had since turned up at various events involving Malaysian athletes.
“From 16,000km away, we have been giving oursupporttoourathletes,”saidDzuhairduring the two-hour event.
Bakar, a member of the Penang Mountain Bike Association, was thankful for the almost smooth “road to London”, with only some problems in China.
“It was very tough in China. We had to endure the cold, rain and heat of the desert,” he said shortly after arriving at Pak Awie’s restaurant.
For Hong, the expedition was a mission. He remembers leaving his 2-month-old daughter behind when he started his ride.
“I did this because I wanted to show my daughter that anything can be achieved in life.” Shamalan Ragunathan, 9, and his brothers Shobhanarthan, 13, and Manojkumar, 15, all keen badminton players, had been looking forward to meeting the badminton squad, especially their idol, Datuk Lee Chong Wei. Shamalan brought along his badminton racquet to be signed by the badminton greats.