KUALA LUMPUR: The absence of certain sports – like bowling, squash and track cycling – means that the Malaysian contingent will only have a target of 40 gold medals to aim for at the Myanmar SEA Games next month.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced the modest target after attending the team manager’s meeting at the OCM Indoor Arena on Monday.
A total of 460 gold medals will be contested at the biennial Games this time.
With the absence of some of these events from the 27th edition, Khairy pointed out that the contingent will head for Myanmar having lost 28 gold medals.
Diving has been identified as the main contributor because Pandelela Rinong and company are good for a clean sweep of all eight gold medals. Karate are expected to deliver six golds; athletics (five); swimming, pencak silat, wushu and archery (three each); hockey and sailing (two each); road cycling, football, body building, shooting and muay (thai) one each.
“This is the realistic target based on the National Sports Council (NSC), Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) and the National Sports Associations (NSAs) joint assessment.
“It is fewer than previous Games as there are many sports which were contested in Palembang but not included in Myanmar this year.
“Some events or even the particular sport are missing this time and we found out that we have to forgo 28 gold medals from our target.
“We’ve already lost eight from aquatics (open water swimming and synchronised swimming), seven from track cycling, five from bowling, four from water ski and two each from fencing and shooting,” said Khairy, who urged all Malaysians not to have high expectations on the contingent in terms of gold medals.
But recent performances have shown that our contingent is capable of surpassing the target set.
Two years ago, Malaysia had set a target of 45 gold medals but ended up winning 59 in Palembang.
In 2009, Malaysia won five more than the initial target of 35 in Laos. In 2007, the contingent aimed for 64 but got four extra on the final day of the meet in Korat, Thailand.
For the record, Malaysia won 59 golds, 50 silvers and 82 bronzes to finish fourth overall in the last Games.
by Lim Teik Huat AND K. Rajan - The Star