Monday, December 14, 2009

Malaysia on course to meet 35 gold target

MALAYSIA'S Sea Games contingent remained on course towards achieving their 35-gold medal target with five more gold medals delivered yesterday to maintain fourth position in the overall standings with 20 gold, 22 silver and 27 bronze with five days of competition remaining.

The women's badminton squad, driven by Wong Mew Choo's stunning opening match victory over Adriyanti Firdasari in straight sets to open their final match against Indonesia, went on to end the country's 34-year wait for the women's team gold medal with a 3-1 upset.

From the diving pool the men's 3m synchronised pair of Yeoh Ken Nee and Bryan Nickson Lomas, together with the women's 10m platform synchronised pair of Leong Mun Yee and Pandelela Rinong made it a perfect outing again, by sweeping both gold medals on offer yesterday.

In the evening, swimmer Siow Yi Ting, recovering from a slight fever, made this her best Sea Games performance ever by setting her third Games record to add to the gold medal she won in the 200m breaststroke.

That followed the tone hurdler Noraseela Khalid had set when she won the 400m hurdles, despite holding back pain from an achilles injury she suffered in training on Wednesday. This was one gold medal Noraseela really wanted after missing out on the 2005 and 2007 Sea Games due to injuries.

Those victories didn't go without disappointments in other areas, as the shooting team again failed to hit targets, ending the day still without their first gold medal in this edition of the Sea Games.

The women's 50m air rifle 3-position team of Shahera Rahim Raja, Muslifah Zulkifli and Nur Suryani Taibi only managed a bronze medal in the event they had been expected to be in with a real shot at gold.

It was the same story in wushu where just two bronze medals were delivered by Ng Say Yoke and Yeap Wai Kin in the men's duilian (with weapons) and the pair of Diana Bong and Tai Cheau Xuen in the women's duilian (bare hands). Hosts Laos surprised with gold medals in both events.

As many as three gold medals are forecasted from the swimming pool today with Daniel Bego and Yi Ting both in action on the final day of competition.

But most of the nation will be geared towards the adjacent main stadium in the National Sports Complex where at 8pm tonight, the national football team take on Laos in a bid to enter the final for the first time since 2001 and end the country's 20-year wait for a football gold medal.

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