Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Double Mission For Malaysian Contingent At The Indonesian SEA Games

JAKARTA, Nov 8 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian contingent to Indonesia will have a double mission to accomplish as the 26th SEA Games will simultaneously kick-off at two venues, in Jakarta and Palembang this Friday (Nov 11).

With 542 gold at stake from 43 events, 22 in Jakarta and 21 in Palembang, the Malaysian contingent comprises 891 athletes and officials were tasked to achieve the modest 45 gold medals target from Indonesia.

The Malaysian contingent in Jakarta was led by Chief-de-Mission (CDM) Datuk Naim Mohamad while Datuk Syed Mustaffa Syed Ali is the CDM in Palembang.

Naim is the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) vice president while Syed Mustaffa is the president of Squash Racket Association of Malaysia (Sram).

The Malaysian contingent will compete in 38 sports and will not take part in the traditional sports such as traditional boat race, fin swimming, wrestling, vovinam (Vietnamese self-defence) and soft-tennis.

"The moderate 45 gold medals target is realistic as most of our senior athletes do not participate in the Indonesian Games because they want to concentrate with the 2012 Olympic qualifying," Naim said.

However the Under-23 football squad have their own personnel mission in Jakarta, besides retaining the gold medal from Laos SEA Games two years ago, the team also need to prove their prowess as the region's best team.

Lately, a few neighbouring countries are quite cynical on the Young Tigers' achievement, winning the elusive gold in Laos after a 20-year drought and continuing the feat by becoming the champion of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Cup in 2010.

For the neighbours, Malaysia's achievement is just a one-off victory and does not reflex the constant rise of the young-blood.

Thus, the Indonesian SEA Games will became the fierce battleground for the Young Tiger, coached by Ong Kim Swee, to up-lift their pride.

But it will not be an easy task this time as Malaysia are drawn in the group of death, together with host Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia and Thailand.

Waiting for the Young Tiger in the Group A clash will be Thailand, who have won the gold in 13 editions in 1965, 1975, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007.

Host Indonesia, although they have won the football gold twice in 1987 and 1991, playing at their own backyard with the support of their fanatical fans, will be an advantage for them.

Malaysia have won the gold five times in 1961, 1977, 1979, 1989 and 2009.

The Young Tiger also became the first Malaysian squad to taste the competitive environment of the Indonesian Games when they battled against Singapore in the opening match of Group A, in the men's football event at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, yesterday and ended with a scoreless draw.

As for the host, Indonesia are aiming to become the overall champion by targeting at least 120 of 542 gold medals on offer.

The decision on Indonesia hosting the biennial games was made in the SEA Games Federation Council meeting in Bangkok in September 2006.

This year is the fourth time Indonesia became the host country for the biennial games after 1979, 1987 and 1997 editions, all in Jakarta.

The 2011 games, however, marks the first time the organizers decided to split the Games between two locations, Palembang in South Sumatra and the capital city Jakarta.

The Republic earlier planned to stage the games in four provinces, Jakarta, Bandung, Semarang and Palembang but Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in July last year made a decision that the games will be held in Jakarta and Palembang.

The main venue in Jakarta is at the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex while in Palembang the venue is at the Jakabaring Sports complex.

As most of the existing venues in Jakarta needed just a cosmetic-change, the authorities in Palembang have to work round the clock to ensure the newly built venues are ready before the opening ceremony on Nov 11.

The 23 sports in Jakarta include football, archery, badminton, basketball, table tennis, bowling, wushu, pencak silat, karate, kempo, judo, taekwondo, cycling, futsal, fencing, sailing, paragliding and vovinam.

While the 21 sports to be held in Palembang are volleyball, wrestling, weightlifting, athletics, aquatics, fin swimming, water ski, gymnastics, shooting, petanque, rock climbing, billiards, sepak takraw, boxing, roller skating, bridge, softball and baseball, tennis, soft tennis and chess.

Coincidently, Indonesia became the overall champion when it hosted the games in 1979, 1987 and 1997.


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