ALTHOUGH not listed as a gold medal prospect in the Commonwealth Games here, the national squash team are expected to spring a surprise to bring glory to the country.
Malaysia’s chef de mission Datuk Shahrul Zaman Yahya said women’s squash players Aifa Azman and Rachel Arnold were capable of making the podium at the Squash and Hockey Centre of University of Birmingham.
“Although S. Sivasangari is not here, I believe Aifa and Rachel can spring a surprise, Insya-Allah (God willing),” he said.
Sivasangari was forced to skip the Games after getting injured in a road accident last month.
Shahrul said badminton, diving and lawn bowls were capable of striking gold as targeted.
“Badminton, diving and lawn bowls may each bring home two golds if the athletes can perform their best,” he added.
Apart from these three sports, Malaysia are also banking on rhythmic gymnastics, weightlifting and powerlifting to achieve their six-gold target.
Malaysia sent 104 athletes to the Birmingham Games, which involves about 6,500 athletes from 72 countries.
Meanwhile, in the opening ceremony on Thursday, the Malaysian contingent, with Aifa and powerlifting ace Bonnie Bunyau Gustin as flagbearers, led the way as 38 other athletes and officials, including Shahrul and his deputy Gerard Monteiro, followed suit.
The Malaysian men and women looked dashing in their white five-button baju Melayu and short modern kebaya that featured the national flower – hibiscus – which was given a new life with a hand-painted batik-like abstract interpretation by a local designer. — Bernama