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Always aim for the stars in sports

In sports, athletes should always compete for glory, instead of just making up the numbers.

Yesterday, the final batch of Malaysian athletes arrived in Tokyo with their respective missions to achieve.

Some are there to win medals, while others just want to gain experience and record Olympic appearances.

Cyclist Azizulhasni Awang, who arrived in Tokyo yesterday, wants to win Malaysia's first Olympic gold medal. As for high jumper Lee Hup Wei, he hopes to reach his first Olympic final in his third attempt.

On the same flight yesterday, sprinter Azreen Nabila Alias, 21, will make her Olympic debut in the women's 100m race. Her goal is to dip below 12 seconds.

While some compete, others are in Tokyo to participate and soak in the atmosphere because they are the best in their respective countries or chosen on a specific wildcard.

The Olympics, however, have evolved and are now catering for the youth with the inclusion of skateboarding in Tokyo. Breakdancing will make its debut three years from now in Paris.

Japan's Yuto Horigome won the first-ever skateboarding Olympic gold medal in the men's street event yesterday behind closed doors.

One skateboarder said the atmosphere was so depressing that he used an iPod to listen to his favourite music while competing.

It's not the organisers' fault, as street boarding is popular with fans, but Covid-19 did not allow any such luxury at this Olympics.

Tokyo has also seen some unexpected gold medallists.

Ecuador's Richard Carapaz, after a six-hour gruelling race, beat the favourites at the Fuji International Speedway on Saturday for the men's road race title.

Yesterday, Tunisian swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui, 18, produced a huge upset to win the men's 400m freestyle gold medal with Japan's Yui Ohashi also beating the favourites for the women's 400m individual medley title.

So, the Games will go on until the end, with some competing for unexpected medals against favourites, while others merely participating for their first, second or third Olympics as nobody in their home nation can dethrone them just yet.

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