Gold Coast 2018 ended with Malaysia still couldn’t break into top 10 in final medal tally.


The 21st Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast 2018 concluded today after 11 days of competition involving athletes from 71 participating countries and territories. I watched the highlight of the closing ceremony and it was a very underwhelming way to brought the successful games to an end. Although as expected, there is no particularly striking moment in the closing ceremony due to the relevant budget cut to hosting sporting events recently (hence inevitable decrease in scale and quality of ceremonies…and there is even no allocation for grand performance), but the show felt like the organizer wanted to just end it once and for all. It’s like a show made for no one to care for with lack of star power, poor fireworks, etc. By the way, the next edition of the games will be held on Birmingham, England in 2022 (4 years from now).

In Gold Coast 2018, the host nation, Australia topped the final medal tally as expected (due to it being a strong powerhouse in sports and also having home advantage) with 80 gold medals, 59 silver medals and 59 bronze medals (total of 198 medals). It is a huge win to Australia as England which came in second place only has 45 gold medals, 45 silver medals and 46 bronze medals (total of 136 medals). India is in third place finish with 26 gold medals, 20 silver medals and 20 bronze medals (total of 66 medals). Canada is in fourth place while New Zealand is in fifth.

Where is Malaysia? Malaysia is at 12th place with 7 gold medals, 5 silver medals and 12 bronze medals (total of 24 medals). This is a fairly good result for Malaysia as the country usually delivered around this figure in every Commonwealth Games. We have also achieved our target set earlier aiming for 6 gold medals. Well, I think the country set a pretty low target. We should at least aim for 10 gold medals. The country also failed to break into top 10 countries in the final medal tally. What’s the point of winning 145 gold medals in the 2017 SEA Games in KL but not doing well in larger-scale sporting event like the Olympics, Asian Games, or even this Commonwealth Games? Anyway, I do believe our athletes have already tried their best and I wish congratulation to the Malaysian medalists. The point is that our sporting performance still has a long way to go.

Malaysia started off really well in this games by clinching two gold medals in the first two days of the games from weightlifting events. However, we suffered a drought in multiple days after that as the country under-performed in other events like cycling, swimming, diving, squash and also badminton of which I would like to discuss here. It’s still a good news that we managed to win 2 gold medals in badminton but I’m actually expecting 5. Lee Chong Wei rise to the occasion in men single after losing to the same Indian player in the mixed team event while Vivian Hoo and Chow Mei Kuan shown to us that they are unbeatable this time in women doubles.

Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying only managed to secure a bronze in mixed double to my disappointment. Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong also only managed to get a bronze in men doubles to my disbelief. We also lost to India in the final of team event surprisingly. I have to admit that India do improve a lot in this particular sport but I’m still strong to my opinion that we are a level above them. This result shows that we have been declining in badminton. If we managed to get additional 3 gold medals, we can actually reach the 10-gold milestone. Last time, we are the only country that can give a good fight to Indonesia and China in badminton. Then, South Korea overpowered us. Next, Japan also went over us. Soon, India, England or even Thailand will deliver better than us in this sport too. We are on the downhill especially when now, we still couldn’t able to find talent to take over Lee Chong Wei and other aging athletes in badminton.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Advertisements

Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games ended with Norway leading the medal tally.


The 23rd Winter Olympic Games, Pyeongchang 2018 concluded yesterday with a spectacular closing ceremony. This winter games did not receive much media exposure and hence I find it difficult to find any website to watch the ceremony last evening. In the end, I only managed to watch highlights of the closing ceremony from one or two news.

Norway led the medal tally with 14 gold, 14 silver and 11 bronze for a total of 39 medals. Norway, which came in second place at Sochi 2014 emerged as the overall champion in this latest edition of the games. Germany came in second with 14 gold, 10 silver and 7 bronze while Canada made it to third place finish with 11 gold, 8 silver and 10 bronze. The host nation, South Korea had 7th place finish with 5 gold, 8 silver and 4 bronze. This winter games are usually dominated by European and Western countries as winter sports are more common and popular over there than in Asia. With a bit of home advantage, South Korea emerged as the top Asian nation in this games.

This is the first Winter Games for Malaysia. I am not expecting any medal finish since my country is very new to this. There are only two athletes representing Malaysia and I can see they have placed their effort in it although they lost in the end. Malaysia do not have winter season and so it’s much harder for us to take part in winter sport. Anyway, I’m still looking forward to more participation by the Malaysians in winter sports in near future.

I have noticed one sport that looks weird to me. I have never seen it before. After a bit of research, the sport I mentioned is called ‘curling’. Curling is a sport in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice towards a target area which is segmented into four concentric circles. The curler can induce a curved path by causing the stone to slowly turn as it slides, and the path of the rock may be further influenced by two sweepers with brooms who accompany it as it slides down the sheet, using the brooms to alter the state of the ice in front of the stone. The action of the brooms is the one that made me laugh a little. It’s really the strangest Olympic sport I have ever seen and this is the first time I’m seeing it from Pyeongchang 2018 although this sport has been contested in the previous games before.

So now, this Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games has ended. The next edition will be in Beijing for 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Beijing, China will be the first city in history to have hosted both Summer Olympic Games (in 2008) and Winter Olympic Games (in 2022, 4 years from now).

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Alejandro Aravena, winner of 2016 Pritzker Prize.


Pritzker Prize, awarded annually to honour a living architect (or architects in partnership) is regarded as the highest architectural award in the world. The past winners of this prestigious prize include Philip Johnson, I.M.Pei, Richard Meier, Frank Gehry, Robert Venturi, Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano, Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, Peter Zumthor, Toyo Ito, etc. The recipient for this year’s Pritzker Prize had just been announced not long ago, and the winner is Alejandro Aravena.

He is the 41st Pritzker Prize laureate and the first Chilean to receive the award. Alejandro Aravena is an architect born in 1967 in Santiago, Chile. After graduated from Universidad Católica de Chile in 1992, he established Alejandro Aravena Architects in 1994. He was a visiting professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design from 2000–2005 and is the Elemental-Copec Professor at his alma mater. He had also written some books on architecture. Other than that, he was a member of the Pritzker Prize Jury from 2009 to 2015, and is an International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. In 2006 he became the executive director of ELEMENTAL S.A, a company working on infrastructure, transportation, public space and housing projects. In July 2015 Aravena was named Director of the Architecture Section of the Venice Biennale, with the responsibility for curating the 15th International Architecture Exhibition to be held in Venice in 2016.

Some of the many awards he had received in the past for his creativity, contribution and commitment in architectural field are León de Plata XI Bienal in Venice, Erich Schelling Architecture Medal in 2006,  Global Award for Sustainable Architecture in 2008, Silver Lion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2008, Index Award winner in 2011, and of course this Pritzker Prize in 2016.

Aravena has a large portfolio of private, public and educational projects in Chile, the USA, Mexico, China and Switzerland. But perhaps more notably, through his firm ELEMENTAL, he has managed to build 2,500 units of social housing, engaging in the public housing policies of governments where he works and taking an opportunistic approach to market forces to generate a powerful impact on lower-income communities.

“Alejandro Aravena epitomizes the revival of a more socially engaged architect, especially in his long-term commitment to tackling the global housing crisis and fighting for a better urban environment for all,” explained the Jury in their citation. “He has a deep understanding of both architecture and civil society, as is reflected in his writing, his activism and his designs. The role of the architect is now being challenged to serve greater social and humanitarian needs, and Alejandro Aravena has clearly, generously and fully responded to this challenge.” He is also praised to have ‘”risen to the demands of practicing architecture as an artful endeavor, as well as meeting today’s social and economic challenges.”

Some of his famous past works include:

Siamese Towers, San Joaquín Campus, Universidad Católica de Chile

Monterrey Housing. Monterrey, Mexico

Alejandro-Aravena-Monterrey-Housing-02

St Edward’s University Dorms. Austin, Texas, USA

Medical School, Universidad Católica de Chile. Santiago, Chile

Novartis Office Building. Shanghai, China

Alejandro-Aravena-Novartis-Campus-Shanghai-Office-Building-01

Congratulation, Alejandro Aravena! Before this, not many would know this name. Now, since he is 2016’s recipient of Pritzker Prize, defeating other hot favourites like Steven Holl, Daniel Libeskind, Santiago Calatrava, etc this year, people in architecture field like us would have his name in our minds from now on. He made a mark in the world’s architecture scene, and so his name is worth a part in our memory especially after he won this prestigious Pritzker Prize for 2016.

(Images and information in this post are from http://www.archdaily.com/780203/alejandro-aravena-wins-2016-pritzker-prize/. You can read more about this wonderful architect and his works in that link to Archdaily website).

Malaysia’s badminton in Glasgow 2014


For badminton, Malaysia always perform well in Commonwealth Games as the country is seen as the strongest in this particular sport compared to the other Commonwealth nations. Other strong countries in this sport like China, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan or Denmark are not here. Hence, there shouldn’t be any tough challenge for our Malaysian badminton players to excel in Glasgow 2014.

badminton_3

Unfortunately, even before the start of the games, our World. No.1 player, Lee Chong Wei decided to drop out of the games due to injury he had earlier. If he is here, I’m like 100% confident that he will win the men single match for us. He had also won in two previous editions of the Commonwealth Games (Melbourne 2006 and New Delhi 2010). So, now it’s up to our other players, Liew Daren and Chong Wei Feng to help deliver a gold in men single. But in the end, disappointingly, both didn’t even get to appear in the final as they were defeated in earlier rounds. What a shocking exit.

20140728_Malaysia-win-Commonwealth-Games-Mixed-Team_615x400

The whole Malaysian badminton team had won the first gold medal of the sport in Glasgow 2014, for the team event. England came in second while Singapore is in third place. None of our team performed good enough to at least obtain any medal for men single and women single categories. We also lost out in mixed doubles. Luckily, we still had hope for men doubles and women doubles as Malaysia will appear in the final of these two categories. This is the reason I’m getting back to my TV on this Sunday’s night; to watch their matches live from Glasgow, Scotland, the host of this 20th Commonwealth Games.

Before the final took place, Malaysia now only had 4 gold medals in overall medal tally. Our women doubles pair, Vivian Hoo and Woon Khe Wei defeated the Indian pair in two straight games to win another gold medal for our country. They made us proud. At first, I didn’t have high expectation on them. This is my first time seeing this pair playing. But they delivered quite a good performance accompanied with multiple mistakes by the Indian pair. Congratulations to them.

Next was the men doubles match. Our representatives, Tan Wee Kiong and Goh V Shem defeated the Singaporean pair in three games. It was like they were against Indonesians, and not Singaporeans as both the opponents are actually Indonesian citizens. I wonder how Singapore can grab them and ask them to perform under their country’s name. Well, these badminton matches were not to the top quality (expected since many other strong countries are not here) but I’m still happy that Malaysia won three golds out of six in badminton of Glasgow 2014. If we think further positive, Malaysia still cemented its position as the strongest Commonwealth nation in badminton.

So, the final tally for Malaysia now stands at 6 golds, 7 silvers and 6 bronzes. We are still one lack from the target of 7 gold medals set earlier. And the worst news is that we performed quite poorly this time compared to the previous Commonwealth Games. In New Delhi 2010, we obtained 12 gold medals. Now, we only had 6. Reduced to half. Quite disappointing. Malaysia now only stands at 12th position in the overall medal tally, even behind Singapore at 11th with 8 golds. Not even in top 10 of which we usually do. Hoping that Malaysia would do better in future games. We can…because of this spirit from the iconic slogan; ‘Malaysia Boleh’!

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Cali 2013 World Games


Perhaps not many have known about the existence of World Games. It’s no doubt  not as famous or as big as the Olympic Games but it is certainly an international multi-sport event. First held in 1981, the games held once in every four years (similar to Olympics) is meant for sports, or disciplines or events within a sport, that are not contested in the Olympic Games. The World Games are organised and governed by the International World Games Association (IWGA), under the patronage of International Olympic Committee (IOC). The year the games takes place would be a year after every Summer Olympic Games.

The sports contested (usually over 30) includes but not limited to acrobatic gymnastics, aerobic gymnastics, artistic roller skating, dancesport, beach handball, canoe polo, rugby sevens, squash, karate, bowling, tug of war, powerlifting, water skiing, sport climbing, softball, wushu, etc of which some are included as invitational sports. I first get to know on this games four years ago when the 8th World Games was held in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. That is the time when this games received wider popularity and that Kaohsiung hosted it in a grand way that proved successful. I watched its opening ceremony and it was a great effort in a beautiful stadium.

Logo_Cali2013_W

The recent 9th World Games was held in Cali, Colombia from 25th July till 4th August 2013 for a duration of 11 days. It has a slogan; ‘Fair Play to the Planet’. A record-breaking total of 109 countries participated with over 3800 athletes involved, making Cali 2013 the biggest ever in the games history. I didn’t have the interest to watch the ceremonies this time, and let’s just look at the results; the medal table since the games is over. Italy topped the table by winning 18 golds, 13 silvers and 18 bronzes. Russia came in second with 17 golds, 23 silvers and 13 bronzes while the third went to France with 16 golds, 11 silvers and 13 bronzes.

Olympics’ powerhouses like US clinched 11 golds, 4 silvers and 4 bronzes and China won 14 golds, 6 silvers and 2 bronzes. How about my country’s performance? Not bad. At least, Malaysia won a single gold medal and placed 37th (better than no standing), thanks to Nicol David in squash. On invitational sports, Malaysia won 2 silvers and 2 bronzes. Now, Nicol is on her way to prepare for last campaigning to include squash into Olympic Games to possibly end Malaysia’s thirst for Olympic gold medal by 2016. Good luck and may squash be successfully included into Olympics! Cali 2013 had concluded yesterday, and for your information, the next edition, 10th World Games will be held at Wroclaw, Poland in 2017. World Games deserves a much greater attention too, and so I wrote this post for it to share or indirectly promoting it out to my readers.

7Fireworks_burst_over_the_Pascual_Guerrer..he_World_Games_in_Cali_Colombia

873599ca0af52bdbb5630522d6563fd5_Generic

The last two images showing fireworks over Pascual Guerrero Olympic Stadium during Cali 2013 World Games’ opening ceremony on 25th July 2013.

(Images and several information in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web).

Malaysia’s performance in London 2012 is by far the best in the nation’s history


The Summer Olympic Games, the world largest sporting event which had its 30th edition, London 2012 concluded yesterday saw the best performance of my country, Malaysia in the games based on the nation’s history. In total, Malaysia won a silver medal and a bronze medal from the games. Yes, this is not a good achievement if we are going to compare that with numerous medals won mostly by China, United States and the host country, Great Britain. But for a small country in South East Asia with only 30 participating athletes, it is already a great milestone for the nation in sports. Malaysia is ranked in top 60 among over 200 participating countries in the games.

Malaysians do not really excel well in variety of sports, particularly in athletics, football, gymnastics, basketball, ping pong and many others. The ones we focused on are definitely badminton, cycling, diving, squash and bowling. Lee Chong Wei is going to retire soon, and hence there seems to be no other talented junior to take over Chong Wei’s place to make the country proud from this sport which is currently overwhelmed by China’s mighty team. Recently, we saw lesser hope in cycling event from our not-improving cyclists. It is very hard to get a medal from diving since China is also very strong on this particular sport. Squash and bowling are not included in Olympic sports…too bad, if not, we would have a greater chance to win few more medals in the games.

London 2012 games repeated Malaysia’s success back in Atlanta 1996. In Atlanta 1996, Malaysia won also a silver and a bronze, but both medals are from only badminton. For this recent edition of the games, Malaysia had silver from badminton, won by Datuk Lee Chong Wei in men single while the bronze is from diving, won by Pandelela Rinong. Hence, I think that this games is by far the most successful for Malaysia’s performance, since the medals won now are from two different sports, instead of only one. Too bad that Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong finished in fourth placing in men doubles of badminton. They managed to get into semifinal which is so close to getting a medal but lost to the much stronger Korean team in bronze medal match.

So, the three best performances by Malaysia in London 2012 are:

1. Lee Chong Wei (Silver) : Won the first game of the final against Lin Dan from China but eventually losing out the last two games. It was a very close contest and luck in the end was not on his side that forced him to settle on silver again after he had won a silver medal previously in Beijing 2008. Now, he decided to compete also on the next Olympics, Rio 2016 if his physical strength is good by then.

2. Pandelela Rinong (Bronze) : A young talented woman in diving. She became the first Malaysian woman to won an Olympic medal, and this medal is also the first medal for Malaysia in diving sport. Well, from her achievement, Malaysia would start to see bigger potential of winning medal in other sports rather than just depending on badminton, that would eventually put a lot of pressure to the nation’s badminton players.

3. Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong (4th place) : Getting a fourth place is quite a good achievement, but without any medal in hand, it is a sad and pity thing for them. They had did their best. Getting even into the semi final is already a success to them. Nevermind, this pair had proven that they are not ‘missing in action’ this time after their glory back in 2006, winning gold medal in Doha 2006 Asian Games. Looking forward to them in next edition of the Olympics.

Congratulation to the winning Malaysian athletes, Lee Chong Wei and Pandelela Nirong. Both of you have made the country proud by having the nation’s flag raised up during victory ceremony in front of thousand of audiences. Eventhough there is still no ‘Negaraku’ (national song) heard indicating that the country have not won any Olympic gold medal before, but the opportunity is still there in future games. To the others who have not made it, it’s okay….you have tried your best. Well done anyway. Let’s hope that Malaysia will do much better in future games, by starting to prepare for the next games four years later to accomplish the goal of winning the country’s first ever Olympic gold medal.

 

Deep respect to the hero of Malaysia, Lee Chong Wei! Eventhough he lost to Lin Dan, but he had captured the hearts of all Malaysians from his wonderful performance in the very exciting final at London 2012


Every Malaysians now would be feeling very down. I am not an exception. The result of the just-concluded men single final between Lin Dan from China and Lee Chong Wei from Malaysia in badminton of London 2012 Olympic Games is truly heartbreaking to all Malaysians. Chong Wei, the only hope for Malaysia to get first ever Olympic gold medal lost to his long-time arch nemesis, the mighty Lin Dan in three games; 21-15, 10-21, 19-21. It is a very close and narrow contest between the two, known as the top two best men single badminton players in the world currently.

Too bad, my prediction is true and that luck is not on Malaysia side. It appears that my country has no fate with the Olympic gold medal. Every Malaysians purposely had their dinner early so that they could get back home on time to watch the much anticipated final, giving chance to make the country proud from Lee Chong Wei. The chance to win the gold medal heightened as soon as Chong Wei won the first game (21-15). It is quite unbelievable and we are so excited by that time as Chong Wei had shown a very good start. Things don’t go smooth for Chong Wei in the second game. Lin Dan is much more aggresive and widen the gap between their points, hence winning the second game easily (10-21).

Then, left the last rubber game, which is the most essential. Our attention never gets off the TV screen and my heart was pumping so fast that I somehow sense a strong nervosity in my mind. I believe every Malaysians must be feeling the same. It’s the deciding game. It is a very close contest between the two. Lin Dan made some very obvious net mistakes and sometimes had his shuttlecocks aimed out of boundary. That is good for Chong Wei to earn points. However, Chong Wei himself also did several major mistakes and he is found weak on his backhand skill. Well, both played to their very best and it seems that Chong Wei’s performance is now on par to Lin Dan. What’s separate Chong Wei from winning the gold medal just now is only the luck.

Luck is not on Malaysia’s side at the last minute of the game when the score is 19-19. Few rounds earlier, it is Chong Wei that stood nearer to gold medal point, but then Lin Dan strike back hard to make the score even. Then, without wasting any further time, Lin Dan do his attacks and Chong Wei countered it with unlucky mistakes and finally lost in a very saddening way. Chong Wei immediately kneel down in a sign of extreme disappointment which is inevitable as this would be his last Olympic outing and he did not make it for the gold once again. While on the other hand, Lin Dan is too happy and excited, screaming out loud, taking off his shirts and doing a lot of patterns after becoming the first ever Olympic defending champion (won in two straight editions of the games) in badminton. It is a great achievement for him once again, but it’s a serious heartbreaking thing for Chong Wei to face. It is really sad to see him in moment after losing the last game. We all felt so sad, and to be honest, now I’m seriously feeling very down and in no mood situation. Hope Chong Wei would rise up from all those disappointments and pressure, and don’t take this defeat too seriously. You have had captured every Malaysian’s heart from your wonderful performance just now which is shown to be extremely better than his meeting with Lin Dan in Beijing 2008.

It is such a pity that he lost it out in the last few minutes of the deciding game. Luck is seriously not on Chong Wei’s side but we all know he did his very best and his performance just now is extremely good and impressive. He at least gave a very good fight and both delivered a badminton performance in the very best quality ever I have seen in men single category. Chong Wei would be forever champion in all Malaysians’ hearts despite not able to win Olympic gold medal. Nevermind, he still had two silver medals for Malaysia (one from Beijing 2008, and latest one from London 2012). He already made the country very proud. He is forced to settle for silver medal once again. On another news, Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong lost to the Korean pair in men double bronze match not long ago (few hours earlier). I didn’t watch that match because I expected Malaysia to lose for that since Korean pair is much more superior. But getting fourth placing that comes with no medal at all appears to be another big disappointment to the Malaysian pair and to the whole country. Well, this is what it is. We have to accept that. No matter what, Malaysia Boleh!

(Images from this post are not mine and are obtained from various sources in Facebook)