KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 — Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian (110m hurdles), Jackie Wong Siew Cheer (hammer throw) and Iskandar Alwi (pole vault) will make their debut at the Asian Games after all.
The three national record holders were initially not listed to compete by the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) as they were in category B (outside the top four in Asia) and have to pay their own way or get the national association to sponsor their trip. They will be reimbursed if they win a medal and were not seen as medal hopefuls.
Rayzam was upset at his non-inclusion and lamented having trained for almost three months in Germany for nothing. He needed 13.66s to qualify by merit. His national record is 13.67s.
The Sabahan asked the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) and OCM to appeal for his inclusion as he’d lined up the National Sports Council of Sabah to pay for his trip. Today is the last day to submit names and the Indonesian officials have agreed to let them all participate at the quadrennial event from 18th August till 2nd September.
“I have just been informed by officials in Indonesia that the three have been accepted,” said Norza while chairing the 4th OCM Executive Board meeting at the OCM headquarters.
“I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind all the athletes and associations that we are doing all we can to give the athletes a chance to prove themselves. It’s about giving them exposure at the highest levels.
“So don’t waste this chance. It comes with accountability and responsibility. We want to make sure this message is loud and clear.”
Rayzam was unsurprisingly elated at the news. Currently back in Sabah, he has been saying a special prayer every night in order to compete in his maiden Asian Games. He’s confident if all goes well he can be in the finals and then anything can happen.
For now he is training hard and will be arrive in Kuala Lumpur in a few days.
“Best news ever. Now I can breathe a sigh of relief,” said Rayzam.
“I want to thank MAF and OCM for making my dreams a reality. I haven’t been at peace for some time as I’m not getting any younger and finding out I couldn’t race in Indonesia was a hard pill to swallow.
“However, I’m in great shape. I’ve resumed training and I’m not going to waste this chance.”
The total number of athletes to Indonesia is now 423 with 207 officials and medical officers.