Who are Malaysia's most famous Olympic medal winners?

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Lee Chong Wei poses with his sons Kingston Lee and Terrence Lee after winning  in the single final against He Kento Momota of Japan during Celcom Axiata Badminton Malaysia Open 2018 at Bukit Jalil Stadium, Kuala Lumpur on July 1, 2018.  (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Lee Chong Wei poses with his sons Kingston Lee and Terrence Lee after winning in the single final against He Kento Momota of Japan during Celcom Axiata Badminton Malaysia Open 2018 at Bukit Jalil Stadium, Kuala Lumpur on July 1, 2018. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Malaysia's Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik pulled off a massive upset in the men's doubles badminton quarter-finals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Thursday (29 July), with a scintillating straight-sets win over favourites and World No. 1 pair Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya from Indonesia.

Despite falling in Friday's semi-final match against to China’s Li Jun Hui- Liu Yu Chen, they still have a chance at the bronze medal in Saturday's playoff match against Indonesia. If the duo are successful, the duo would bag Malaysia's first medal at the Tokyo Games. 

The Federation had by far its best Olympic medal haul at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, with four silvers and a bronze from three sports.

As focus turns to the shuttlers' prospects for glory, here's a look back at some of Malaysia's top Olympic medal winners.

Lee Chong Wei competes against Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand during the Men's Singles Quarter-final match on day four of the Blibli Indonesia Open at Istora Gelora Bung Karno on July 6, 2018. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Lee Chong Wei competes against Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand during the Men's Singles Quarter-final match on day four of the Blibli Indonesia Open at Istora Gelora Bung Karno on July 6, 2018. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

Lee Chong Wei (Badminton)

Perhaps the most famous Malaysian Olympian, Lee Chong Wei was ranked the world number one for 349 weeks – including a 199-week streak from August 2008 to June 2012.

He is also the only Malaysian shuttler who has held the number one ranking for more than a year.

The sixth Malaysian to have medaled at the Olympics, Lee is also the most successful one, bagging a total of three medals – a silver each for the men's singles in Beijing in 2008, in London in 2012 and in Rio in 2016.

The badminton great was forced to retire in 2019 due to the after-effects of nose cancer.

A heartwarming tribute to his wife on his Instagram account later that year touched many Malaysians as they wished Lee and his family health and happiness.

Pandalela Rinong of Malaysia competes in the women's 10m platform diving final at the 2015 SEA Games. (PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)
Pandalela Rinong of Malaysia competes in the women's 10m platform diving final at the 2015 SEA Games. (PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)

Pandalela Rinong (Diving)

A mainstay for the Malaysia national diving team for much of the last decade, Pandalela has gone from strength to strength at the Olympics.

She won a bronze medal in the women's 10m platform competition at the 2012 London Games – the first Malaysian female athlete to medal, and the first Malaysian to do so in a sport other than badminton. 

At the Rio Games in 2016, she teamed up with Cheong Jun Hoong to land the silver medal in the women's synchronised 10m platform event.

She also clinched a gold medal at this year's World Championships in the women's 10m platform event.

However, the first of her two medalling chances at Tokyo ended in crushing disappointment, when she and Leong Mun Yee finished last in the field of eight in the women's synchronised 10m platform competition on Tuesday (27 July).

Pandelela has another shot at a podium place next Wednesday (4 August), when she will compete in the women's individual 10m platform event.

Malaysia's mixed double pair of Chan Peng Soon (left) and Goh Liu Ying compete in the Mixed Doubles quarter finals match against Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa of India on day four of the Toyota Thailand Open on January 22, 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Malaysia's mixed double pair of Chan Peng Soon (left) and Goh Liu Ying compete in the Mixed Doubles quarter finals match against Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa of India on day four of the Toyota Thailand Open on January 22, 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying (Badminton)

The veteran mixed doubles pair have been winning trophies and medals for Malaysia for more than a decade, and were at their peak when they clinched a silver medal in Rio in 2016.

However, the shuttlers' recent form has been patchy, and they have not won a title on the badminton tour circuit since the 2019 New Zealand Open. 

With the Olympic mixed doubles field stacked with top-tiered duos, Chan and Goh faced a tough battle to replicate their success five years ago.

On Monday, they lost 21-13, 21-19 to China's Wang Yi Lyu and Huang Dong Ping but didn't go down easily, serving up some smashes so fierce that their opponents had to dodge to avoid being hit by the shuttlecock.

Gold medallist Malaysia's Mohd Azizulhasni Awang celebrates during the awards ceremony for the men's sprint event of the cycling track competition at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 30, 2018. (PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)
Gold medallist Malaysia's Mohd Azizulhasni Awang celebrates during the awards ceremony for the men's sprint event of the cycling track competition at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 30, 2018. (PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)

Azizulhasni Awang (Cycling)

The first Malaysian cyclist to win an Olympic medal, Azizulhasni followed up his bronze-medal effort in the men's keirin event at the 2016 Rio Games with a stunning gold medal in the same event at the 2017 World Championships in Hong Kong. 

It was the first time a Malaysian wore the coveted rainbow jersey – given to the reigning world champion in a cycling discipline.

He won his first World Championship medal in 2009, and was also named Malaysian Sportsman of the Year in 2009 and 2010.

In Tokyo, Azizulhasni, whose nickname is "The Pocket Rocketman" due to his small stature, will again be taking part in the men's keirin, a race in which track cyclists sprint for victory following a speed-controlled start behind a pacer. 

He will also participate in the men's sprint for another shot at a medal.

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