Datuk Seri Mohamad Norza Zakaria

KUALA LUMPUR: Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Datuk Seri Mohamad Norza Zakaria has emphasised that this is not the right time to criticise the body regarding its role on the country’s participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Instead, he urged the naysayers to give constructive views or criticisms to OCM following the Covid-19 pandemic, which has greatly affected athletes’ training programmes and sports events worldwide.

This is not the time to seek publicity, he said yesterday in reference to criticisms by former National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong, who questioned OCM’s stand that the Olympic Games should go on.

“We must understand OCM’s function, as we have the right to select athletes to multi-sports Games. The decision to hold the Olympics belongs to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) alone and we, as affiliates of IOC, respect its decision.

“That’s why all the countries have pledged their trust in IOC to continue with the hosting… Of course, OCM will prioritise the security and safety of our athletes and officials. If the situation does not improve and the safety of our athletes is at risk, we may not compete in the Olympics. 

“But whatever decision we take will be made after discussions with our stakeholders — the Youth and Sports Ministry, NSC and National Sports Institute (NSI),” he said when contacted by Bernama.

The OCM had agreed that the Olympic Games be held as scheduled from July 24 to Aug 9 during a video conference call between IOC and all 45 National Olympic Committees in Asia. 

Meanwhile, Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM) president Jasni Shafie advised all parties to work together to tackle Covid-19 and to avoid any bickering as no one was sure when the pandemic would end.

“IOC yesterday gave its assurance regarding the security and safety of all parties if Tokyo 2020 is held as planned. We believe it is not the final decision because it will all depend on the Covid-19 situation then,” he said. – Bernama