Wednesday, 4 June 2014 | MYT 9:57 PM
Perlis closes Sukma with a smile - despite rain threat
The Sarawak contingent all smiles during the closing ceremony of Sukma Perlis at Tuanku Syed Putra Stadium. Sarawak will be hosting the next Sukma in 2016. - IZZRAFIQ ALIAS / The Star
KANGAR: After two weeks of spoils – tumbling national (five) and Malaysia Games (30) records, great valour and sportsmanship – a downpour threatened ruin the closing ceremony of the Perlis Sukma at Stadium Tuanku Syed Putra here.
But, in true Sukma spirit, the closing ceremony – with its theme of unity and harmony – got under way after a 30-minute delay.
Throughout the two-week long Games, Perlis proved that despite being the smallest state in the country, it can stand proud at having hosted the Games for the first time.
And who else better than to bring the curtains down on the 17th edition of the Games than legendary rocker Amy Search in thrilling performance also witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
Federal Territories emerged as overall champions of the Games for the second time after a 28-year wait with 147 medals – 55 golds, 38 silvers and 49 bronzes. Terengganu were second with 137 medals (51-55-31) and Sarawak third with 115 medals (48-32-35).
Negri Sembilan’s Muhammad Irfan Shamsuddin, who re-wrote his own discus national record of 53.16m (set at the 2013 Myanmar SEA Games) with a throw of 54.26m en route to winning the gold medal, was named Sportsman of Sukma 2014.
“I really didn’t expect to get the award. Yes, Negri targeted me to win it and I also came here with that intention ... it came true so, thank God,” said Irfan with a smile.
“Actually, I heard a Sabah weightlifter (Constantine Clement) was in contention ... that’s why I left Perlis on Monday. But they told me the news yesterday and so I’m here now. I’m very happy.”
Irfan’s effort also rewrote the old Sukma mark of 45.89m set by Mohd Hasrolnizam Yaakob in Kedah in 2006.
Sarawak weightlifter Jelinie Empera, who won the gold in both the women’s 75kg snatch and clean and jerk events, was named Sportswoman of the Games.
She bettered the Games record in both events by 1kg – lifting 85kg in the snatch and 107kg clean and jerk.
Though the 20-year-old will not be competing when her homestate hosts the biennial Games in 2016, she was still happy to receive the honour.
“Like Irfan, I didn’t expect this. I thought Grace (Wong), who broke a 12-year-record in discus, would surely get it. But I guess it’s my luck. It’s a great start for me to go after bigger dreams and, hopefully, get a national call-up again,” said Jelinie.