National swimmers with the Sea Games mascots at the Jakabaring Aquatic Centre yesterday. - HASAN ISMAIL
The good and the bad of the Sea Games, as far as Malaysia was concerned, was witnessed in Palembang and Jakarta yesterday. Veterans came to the fore in diving and athletics while karate was rocked by an allegation from coach P. Arivalagan that a Malaysian had conspired to fix matches involving national exponents.
After the high of Sunday where seven gold medals were won, expectations were high of another bumper harvest yesterday and early indications were that it would be a good day.
Malaysian divers ruled the Jakabaring Aquatic Centre as they won both the gold medals contested, making it a clean sweep of three gold medals after two days of competition.
Bryan Nickson Lomas and Yeoh Ken Nee easily won the men's 3m springboard synchro, posting a six-dive total of 392.31 points.
That was followed by Leong Mun Yee-Traisy Vivien combining perfectly to retain the women's 10m platform synchro discipline for Malaysia with 306.66 points.
Then came high jumper Lee Hup Wei at the Jakabaring Sports Complex.
A former Asian champion, Hup Wei had cautioned against expecting gold from him as the Sea Games was his first competition since recovering from surgery.
The will, however, to maintain Malaysia's stranglehold on the event was too great as Hup Wei cleared 2.15m for the gold. The high jump gold has been in Malaysia's hands since 1977 with the only blemish coming in the 2005 edition in Manila.
However, Hup Wei burst onto the scene in 2007 and has made the title his personal property since.
The biggest surprise of the day, though, came from the men's 4x400m quartet.
Only in Palembang because coach K. Jayabalan had pushed for them and obtained funds to ensure they boarded the flight, S. Kannathasan, P. Yuvaraaj, Schzuan Ahmad Rosely and Muhammad Yunus Lasaleh performed magnificently to win the gold in 3:10.47s.
Though the quartet did not have the support of certain individuals in the Malaysian AAU, their gold would have been a welcome relief as it took athletics' to four, which is just two short of their "lofty" target of six.
In Jakarta, Sunday's high of four gold medals from karate was replaced by shocking allegations that a Malaysian had fixed bouts involving national exponents.
Arivalagan made the allegation after the women's team were beaten 2-1 by Indonesia in the final at the Senayan Indoor Tennis Hall.
The allegation must be investigated, especially as Arivalagan said he would reveal who the individual was.