Team Malaysia 2008
But as any citizen, aside from the Opening ceremony, one will most likely to follow the news on our team Malaysia.
Malaysia will be participating in a fair bit of events - from archrery, atheletics, aquatics (diving & swimming), taekwando & weightlifting.
However, the medal hopefuls will come more so in the one that has given Malaysia 1 silver & 2 bronzes - badminton. The badminton batch for this 2008 Olympic Games is actually not very different from the one sent in the previous 2004 Games. Yes, there is additional women's singles - Wong Mew Chew and newly formed pair Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong but the rest from 2nd seed Lee Chong Wei, Wong Choon Hann, Tan Fok - Wan Wah and even women's doubles Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty are not new to the games.
And Malaysia aims to get its coloured medal (of any colour) through mainly from Chong Wei or Tan Fook-Wan Wah.
Can Team Malaysia Live To Expectations?
Seriously, I don't want to predict. The stakes in 2000 & 2004 were also rather high, and team Malaysia came home empty handed. Even in 1996, I remember watching the gruelling match of the men's doubles finals.
Soon Kit - Kim Hock were so close to the gold, but again only achieved silver (this is the pair that is quite 'unlucky' despite being very talented & consistent, as they always loose out to Ricky-Rexy in most finals). But yes, I'm glad they at least won silver.
The question now would be, can team Malaysia live up to the 'Malaysia Boleh!' (Malaysia Can) spirit this time round and win a medal for Malaysia? We've done it thrice, why not this time?
Go For Gold, Nothing Less
I would like to give a 'good challenge' to them to in fact bring back gold - aim for a higher colour (the highest) and then go all out for it. It's a theory, aim for mediocore (or not aiming at all) begets mediocore or worse off results... aim for good results, and you achieve good results, or at least close to the best.
And a note, the Olympics should not be a familiarisation ground or testing ground... Just look at this: a player usually have at most 3 times at going for glory (ie 3 Olympics feature usually).
If one is to take the first debut as its testing (usually around the age of early 20s), then there is only 2 more hopes left thereafter, that is if one still qualifies. And if again, at their peak (usually mid 20s) is again a testing ground, that only leaves the final round when the player is about late 20s or 30s... but by then, despite the experience, there is a lot of catch up in stamina.
Badminton aside, I would say, let's also watch cycling with the likes of Malaysian fighters Josiah Ng & also in sailing by Kevin Lim. These are go-getters & true to the Malaysia Boleh spirit, setting high hopes & never die attitude.
Of course, the other participants also have a figthing chance to bring back glory, especially with a proper spirit of Malaysia Boleh! & a mindset of aiming nothing less than no. 1.
*Lee Chong Wei & Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong are part of the 50+1 Malaysians in the 50+1 Malaysia book.