Friday, November 12, 2010

Zolkples wants Malaysians to seize their moments of glory

COLOURFUL flowers, state-of-the-art competition venues, friendly smiles and intense battles.
It's all systems go for Guangzhou to showcase the biggest Asian Games ever in the 16th edition of the series.
The Games will officially open today with a grand and spectacular ceremony on Haixinsha Island, on the famous Pearl River, and the superior China contingent – boasting Olympic and world champions – are expected to sail away as the overall champions once again.
And Malaysia are ready to share some of the limelight as they seek to write their own piece of history in Flower City.
The Malaysian contingent of 333 athletes have been challenged to meet a realistic nine-gold medal target to beat the previous best haul of 8-17-17 achieved in Doha four years ago.
Men at work: The Malaysian 4km team pursuit riders (from left) Mohd Akmal Amrun, Amir Mustafa Rusli, Mohd Adiq Husainie and Mohd Harrif Salleh in training at the Guangzhou Velodrome.
Chef-de-mission Datuk Zolkples Embong said that it was time for the athletes to soak in the Games atmosphere and seize their moments of glory.
"This edition of the Games goes into the history books as the biggest-ever. And we are proud to be part of it as one of the biggest contingents," said Zolkples.
"The world will be able to see the six years of hard work invested by a massive team in Guangzhou to make this a successful event. I take my hats off for their excellent organisation."
It was confirmed yesterday that Guangzhou would be the hosts of the biggest ever Asiad, attracting 9,704 athletes from 45 countries fighting for honour and glory in a record high of 42 sports.
In fact, even Kuwait, who were banned from participating in international tournaments for two years for some violations at the Youth Olympics in Singapore in August, will compete under the banner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Games department manager Haider A. Farman said in a press release yesterday that that the total number of athletes was 184 more than that in Doha four years ago.
The Asiad has certainly evolved since its humble beginning of seven sports in New Delhi in 1951.
Said Zolkples: "All the countries are getting more and more serious in their preparations. The level of competition will be high in Guangzhou.
"The stage is all ready and it is now up to our athletes to deliver the goods. I will not be surprised if our team surpass the nine-gold target.
"Preparations have been solid and, more than that, I am impressed with their determination to break barriers."
Besides winning medals, Zolkples is also hoping for Malaysia's new stars to bloom.
"We are hoping for squash, cycling and bowling to deliver. There are also hopes on karate, wushu, badminton and sepaktakraw," he said.
"But it will be also a great achievement if new stars emerged for Malaysia
"Diver Pandelela Rinong proved herself at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi last month. And, now, we want to see more youngsters make the big leap into stardom."

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