Olympians may feature in Merdeka Day parade

Some of Malaysia’s finest athletes are set to feature in the Merdeka Day parade at Dataran Merdeka come Aug 31.

Malaysia Olympian Association (MOA) president Noraseela Khalid said former hockey international Maninderjit Singh had suggested that Olympians take part in the parade. The idea was then thrown to Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu.

“We met the sports minister yesterday and he was receptive and supportive of the idea,” said Noraseela, a former national hurdler.

“It was Maninderjit who first proposed this in our (MOA) WhatsApp group. It’s a group where members are free to share their ideas and views.

“When the idea was presented, we all thought that it was great, and we quickly worked on it.”

According to Noraseela, not only did Ahmad Faizal say yes to the participation of the Olympians during the parade, Ahmad Faizal also said that the ministry would provide clothing for the contingent.

“We are just waiting for the process. If all goes well, we hope to see 10 or 20 Olympians join the parade,” Noraseela added.

Noraseela hoped Olympians will be featured in the parade regularly.

“It’s a great way for young Malaysians to get to know their Olympians. We have young Olympians who are still active in sports and we also have seniors. We hope to inspire more people.”

Athletes joining in the parade is not new.

In 2016, the nation’s elite stars who competed in the Rio Olympics were featured in the Merdeka Day parade. Donning the tiger stripe uniforms, they were ferried in a double decker bus.

In 2017, winners of the SEA Games, held in Kuala Lumpur the same year, took part in the Merdeka Day celebrations.