The Power of One

23 Aug

The Rio 2016 Olympics has come to an end. It was a world sporting event of epic proportions. New stars and darlings were born, legends immortalised and unity became stronger than ever, even for a fleeting moment for some countries, mine for one. There was also its fair share of controversies and headline grabbing moments. Part and parcel right?

Although I did not follow the Games as much, I did watch some events: golf, diving, swimming, table tennis and badminton. I remember my first exposure to the Olympics was during the dinosaur summer days of 1984 and names like Carl Lewis, Zola Budd and Mary Decker comes to mind. Track & Field was the event to follow. This time, it’s a whole lot more events and names.

Watching the golf event was obvious because I enjoy the sport. I even stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to watch the men battle for gold. It was exhilarating! Diving was due to my country’s sportswomen qualifying for the 10m platform final. Swimming was of course the lure of the most decorated Olympian swimmer, table tennis because the players were amazing. They inspire me to want to pick up a paddle and play some hard core table tennis! And badminton because of our presence in the finals. I missed track and field live but did catch the main attraction events later.

Malaysia, my country, is not known for her sports prowess in the world arena or at the Olympics save for a couple of events. Although in squash we have a world class player, the racquet sport is not featured at the Olympics. When Team Malaysia qualified for the Badminton Mixed Doubles, Men’s Doubles and Men’s Singles, it was elation and pride that I felt. I am sure 30 million of our population felt the same way too.

Suddenly, there was a sense of togetherness in the nation when our players qualified for three out of the possible five finals! It’s quite a feat denying China the powerhouse of this event for yet another clean sweep like the last outing. The power of one, badminton, had united all of us to dream the impossible: achieving gold. Could we achieve it this time? 

For three nights in a row, the nation came together to root for a golden ending. The giddy excited chorus of yays when a point was scored and the worried groans in unison when a point taken was pretty amazing. Unfortunately as much as we hoped for a happy ending, we came out short and clinched silver in all three events.

We should hold our heads high and be proud of how far our nation has come along, achieving our best Olympics results ever at Rio 2016. The power of one sport, badminton, has done much good for the country and her people. The gold may have evaded us now but we look forward to Tokyo 2020 to clinch our first gold medal.

The Olympics. It was amazing. Thank you Rio 2016.

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