Kuala Lumpur, July 6 (IANS) Men’s singles badminton player Lee Zii Jia will join his veteran teammate Goh Liu Ying as Malaysia’s flagbearers at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23, the Olympic Council of Malaysia said on Tuesday.
The decision was made following the withdrawal by Malaysian archer Khairul Anuar Mohamad from the task as he competes in an event the day following the opening ceremony, reports Xinhua.
The charging-up of the 23-year-old Lee in the badminton rankings has sparked hopes that Malaysia has found a successor to the legendary Lee Chong Wei as a shuttler who can finally win the country its first Olympic gold.
In March, Lee won the All England title at the expense of the two top-notchers: Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen and Kento Momota of Japan, who have been at the forefront of the sport in recent years.
While nominating Lee as the flagbearer, the Olympic Council of Malaysia said: “He represents the future generation of Olympic athletes and is also a medal hopeful.”
While Lee is making his first appearance in the Olympics, Goh will compete at the Games for the third time. She and her mixed doubles partner Chan Peng Soon won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8.