SEA GAMES: Absence of core sports cannot be blamed for under-achieving in MyanmarTHE absence of several sports which contributed heavily to Malaysia's gold medal tally two years should not be used as an excuse by the national contingent for under-performing at this year's edition in Myanmar.
Bowling (five), synchronised swimming and open water swimming (seven), track cycling (seven), fencing (two) and water skiing (four), which contributed 25 gold medals to Malaysia's final tally of 58 in Indonesia in 2011, are among the sports dropped by Myanmar.
This led to reduced expectations on the national contingent but Sport Minister Khairy Jamaluddin warned this is no reason not to do well.
"The overall estimate of the number of gold medals we can get will be different from prior years because some events will not be there.
"This basically means we have lost more than 20 gold medals but this is not an excuse for the athletes. They must perform," he said after the launching of Milo's "Fuel for Champions" sponsorship of the national Sea Games contingent at the National Aquatics Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
The Olympic Council of Malaysia, as recently revealed by chef-de-mission Datuk Wira Amiruddin Embi, is aiming for 40 to 45 gold medals.
Khairy also expressed hope the private sector will emulate Milo and step forward to sponsor Malaysian athletes.
"When the athletes see that it is not just the public who are supporting them but also sponsors, it gives them a lift," said Khairy.
"There is a feeling of appreciation and confidence flowing from the private sector, who are encouraged to step forward.
"Although the government has been the main backer of sports, if they can't contribute in cash then maybe in kind.
"It is also a good branding platform for companies to sponsor the national contingent."
Milo's long association with Malaysian sport continues as the official malt drink of the national Sea Games contingent.
"The Fuel for Champions campaign is more than just sponsorship, it aims to empower and energise our young athletes as they strive for success," said Nestle Malaysia and Singapore regional head Alois Hofbauer.
"In the next few months, we will unveil a series of events that will bring Malaysians and sport closer and rally the country to support the Sea Games contingent."