JAKARTA, Nov 23 (Bernama) -- With the total of 59 gold medals, Malaysia surpassed its target to win a maximum of 45 gold medals from the 26th SEA Games concluded yesterday, despite the dismal performance by the athletes in several high-performance or elite sports.
The Malaysian contingent also bagged 50 silver and 82 bronze medals from the Games which was held at two main venues in here and Palembang since Nov 11.
Malaysia also retained the men's football gold medal, dubbed as the mother of all gold medal in the SEA Games, when the national squad coached by Ong Kim Swee defeated Indonesia 4-3 on penalties.
Aquatic events, however, proved to be the goldmine for Malaysia when the athletes contributed 19 gold medals through diving (seven gold medals), swimming (five), synchronised swimming (five) and open water swimming (two).
The athletics squad clinched six gold medals for Malaysia, followed by tenpin bowling (five), water ski (four), karate (four), wushu (three), silat (three), cycling (three), archery (two), shooting (two), fencing (two) and billiard & snooker (one).
As a comparison, swimming contributed the largest number of gold medals for Malaysia with nine gold medals, followed by diving (six), karate (five), athletics (six), silat (four), wushu (three), boxing (two), badminton (two) and one each from men's football, archery and taekwondo at the Laos SEA Games two years ago.
Fifteen sports successfully contributed to Malaysia's gold medal collection, while 19 other sports, including the elite and extreme sports like taekwondo, badminton, sailing, weight-lifting and boxing, failed to deliver the desired results.
One of the reasons given for their failure is that only junior athletes were sent to compete in Indonesia as the seniors are expected to focus on their preparations to compete in London Olympic Games next year.
However, Bernama checks found that in most events, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, which also the top three countries in medal collection, were represented by a majority of young athletes.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek has personally expressed his disappointment with the dismal performance showed by the athletes in taekwondo and sepaktakraw.
Both sports, which were fully-aided by the National Sports Council (MSN) came home empty-handed.
Ahmad Shabery said the MSN would definitely conduct a post mortem to determine the cause of the dismal performance by those athletes.
For sports which are no longer competitive, the MSN will also consider the possibility to remove them from the programme or minimise the allocation for their associations, he said.
Nevertheless, credits should be given to extreme sports for bagging the unexpected gold medals.
Despite being contested for the first time in the Indonesia's edition of SEA Games, two extreme sport events, namely water ski and open water swimming had managed to bag four and two gold medals for Malaysia, respectively.
However, it would be difficult for the MSN to absorb the sport in its programme as there was no benchmark that can be used to evaluate the performance of the sport.
It has been the tradition of the SEA Games that the host country will emerge as the overall champion and before the year 2000, the strongest competition to become the overall champion was always between Thailand and Indonesia.
Now, the trend has changed. Although Indonesia was announced as the overall champion, the competition for the second place was also opened to Thailand and Vietnam.
Malaysia had also faced tough competition from Singapore.
For the 26th edition of the SEA Games here, Malaysia took the fourth place.
Thailand, the reigning overall champion from the 2007 SEA Games in Korat, Thailand and 2009 SEA Games in Vientiane, Laos, had to settle for second place.
Indonesia have hosted the biennial meet four times, namely in 1979, 1987, 1997 and 2011, in which they had also been 'coincidently' announced as the overall champion of the Games.
This year, Indonesia bagged a total of 182 gold, 151 silver and 142 bronze medals, leaving Thailand at second place (107, 100, 120) and Vietnam (96, 90, 100).
Malaysia is at the fourth place, followed by Singapore with 42 gold, 45 silver and 73 bronze medals, Philippine (36, 56, 77), Myanmar (16, 27, 36), Laos (9, 12, 36), Cambodia (4, 11, 24), Timor Leste (1, 1, 6) and Brunei (0, 4, 7).
The 27th edition of SEA Games will be held in Naypyidaw, Myanmar in 2013 and it is learnt that there will be 48 sports to be contested, which is the largest number of sports ever contested in the Games' history since it was first introduced in Bangkok, Thailand in 1959.
So, Good Bye Indonesia. Min ga la ba (Hello) Myanmar!
From Zulhilmi Supaat