Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sea Games: Reasonable target

NATIONAL Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Zolkples Embong defended the official Sea Games target of 40-45 gold medals as reasonable, given that half the Malaysian contingent are competing at their own expense.

Out of the 608 Malaysian athletes in Palembang and Jakarta, NSC does not have any say in the preparation of 320 of them.

Without having much of a track record, Zolkples said it is not realistic to include these self-funded sports in the official target.

"Out of 608 athletes, 320 are from outside our programmes and many of those have gone under Category B, and whom we have not targeted gold.
"From the 42 sports being contested, we have projected gold from 16 sports only. As you know, we only prioritise 19 core sports.

"Squash, hockey and lawn bowls are not being held this time, and in Korat (in 2007), these three sports alone brought in eight gold," said Zolkeples in Jakarta yesterday.

Malaysia won 68 gold in Korat and returned with 40 from 2009 in Laos, where fewer sports were contested.

The absence of several top athletes in equestrian and cycling also adversely affected the medal target.

"Rhythmic gymnastics offers only one gold this time when we won four in Korat, as did equestrian and cycling through keirin, team sprint and time trial, events which have been cut," said Zolkples, who added that the retirement of karate trio R. Puvaneswaran, A. Vasantha Marial and G. Vathana were also telling factors.

Some of the obscure sports like water skiing, paragliding and sport climbing believe they can deliver gold medals.

"They are not in our programme but they have targeted gold which is why the tally of the national sport associations is 60 gold.

"These sports don't have track records to speak of and when we met them in joint-committee meetings, they did not go into detail yet targeted gold in the hope of going under Category A," said Zolkples.

Read more: NST

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