Reezal Merican to Malaysians: Let’s rally behind our Olympic-bound athletes

Thirty Malaysians will compete at the Tokyo Olympics from Friday, determined to bring some cheer to the nation after a harrowing 16 months caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Among them are cyclist Datuk Azizulhasni Awang, the national divers, and badminton players, of whom, the nation is pinning its hopes of a gold medal, and two others, of any colour.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican said the three-medal target was neither pessimistic, nor optimistic, in light of how the coronavirus nearly wiped out the entire sporting calendar.

He added the national athletes could only participate in 32 out of the 89 competitions or events scheduled in 2020, and this year, they could only partake in 21 events leading up to the Summer Games.

“Many countries, including the United Kingdom and even the host Japan, have not set any ambitious targets, as they felt it would not be fair to their athletes,” he said, during a virtual press conference this afternoon.

“The reason we settled on three medals is that certain athletes have expressed their desire to bring back medals for the people.

“By setting this target, we want to manage expectations, bearing in mind we came back with four silver medals and a bronze from Rio de Janeiro five years ago.”

Malaysia won the silver in badminton (three medals) and diving, while the bronze was from cycling – in what was the national contingent’s best Olympic outing since debuting in the 1956 edition, in Melbourne, Australia.

“I hope everyone in the country gives 100 per cent support to our athletes while they are in Tokyo.”

Singapore and Vietnam had not set any medal targets this time around, while the Philippines hoped to secure a gold medal. Thailand aimed to return from Tokyo with three gold medals.

For the Paralympics, which would be held after the Olympics, Reezal Merican said the target was to equal Rio’s haul of three gold medals.

Reezal Merican also said the Malaysian secretariat is taking every precaution after several Covid-19 cases were reported inside the Games Village.

Here are Twentytwo13’s news highlights today.

COVID-19 CASES EXCEED 10,000 FOR SEVENTH STRAIGHT DAY

Malaysia today recorded 10,972 new Covid-19 cases, the seventh day in a row new infections reached the five-digit mark.

The total number of cases is now at 925,533. Selangor had the highest figure with 4,404 cases, followed by Negeri Sembilan (1,340 cases) and Johor (876).

Malaysia recorded its highest single-day tally of 13,215 cases on July 15.

WALK-IN VACCINATIONS IN KL, SELANGOR, ONLY FOR THOSE WITHOUT APPOINTMENTS

The walk-in vaccinations in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor starting Aug 1 are not meant for those who already have their appointments.

The Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF), in a statement, said this initiative was for individuals who do not have identification, or travel documents.

CITF said those residing in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor who have already registered for the vaccination, would be given an appointment soon, while those who have yet to register, were encouraged to do so as soon as possible.

ISMAIL SABRI: ‘RELAXED’ SOP FOR THOSE FULLY VACCINATED, AFTER AIDIL ADHA

Good news for those who have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government would announce standard operating procedure (SOP) relaxation for those who have completed their two-dose vaccinations after the Hari Raya Aidil Adha, which will be celebrated tomorrow.

Ismail Sabri said the government was also studying which business sectors could be given relaxed restrictions.

SELANGOR ADDS TWO CREMATORIUMS TO EXPEDITE CREMATION OF COVID-19 DEAD

Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said the state would add two more crematoriums for speedier cremation of non-Muslim Covid-19 dead.

He said this was to reduce the number of remains of Covid-19 victims at hospital mortuaries in Selangor.

With the addition of two extra crematoriums, cremation would be carried out three times a day – morning, afternoon and evening.

Amirudin also said the state government had contacted the Foreign Ministry to speed up the process of identifying the remains of foreign nationals who died from Covid-19.

He added the state government would increase the number of Covid-19 vaccine doses to 300,000 a day by the end of this month.

HOT MAIL: MAN, ANGRY AT NOT FINDING ANYTHING VALUABLE TO STEAL, SETS POST OFFICE ON FIRE

A factory worker was arrested for breaking into the Selandar post office in Jasin, Melaka, last night and setting fire to tables and chairs at the service counter.

Melaka police said the 43-year-old man was arrested at a house in Pekan Selandar. Police also seized clothes, tools believed to have been used to break into the post office, and a lighter.

Police said the suspect admitted to the act and confessed to starting the fire after getting upset for not finding anything valuable to steal.