PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian SEA Games contingent has one aim – one, one, one. The target is to win 111 gold medals and be the top gun of the 29th SEA Games, which is being hosted by the country from Aug 19 to 30.
The target was announced by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak handed the Jalur Gemilang to the SEA Games contingent and also to the Para Asean Games contingent at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) yesterday.
The total number of gold medals up for grabs is 405 in 38 sports.
The figure 111 is the same number of golds Malaysia won in the 2001 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur. That was the first time since the Games’ inception in 1959 that Malaysia become the overall champion.
In the 2001 edition, the total number of events was 391 in 32 sports.
Khairy said that they came up with the figure of 111 after analysing the performance of athletes and also the targets set by the individual sports associations.
“It is a realistic target, one which we can achieve. It is also the same number of golds we won when we hosted the Games in 2001 to become overall champions,” said Khairy.
Khairy, however, did not reveal in detail which sports were expected to contribute to the gold medal tally.
“I am not going to reveal it. That will put unnecessary pressure on the athletes. The other reason is that people will start analysing and criticising sports associations which do not meet their targets in the Games,” said Khairy.
Although Khairy would not reveal the expectations from the sports associations, most of the gold medals are likely to come from athletics, aquatics, bowling, cycling, gymnastics, karate, lawn bowls, sailing, silat, waterskiing and squash.
Khairy added that for the Asean Para Games, which will be held from Sept 17-23, a target of 103 gold medals has been set. There will be 16 sports in the Para Games, but with 479 events.
“We hope to finish second in the Para Asean Games with 103 golds. Thailand will be favourite to become overall champion,” said Khairy.
In the last Asean Para Games in Singapore in 2015, Malaysia finished overall third with a medal haul of 52-58-37 in 336 events in 15 sports. Thailand was the overall champion with a haul of 95-76-79 followed by Indonesia with 81-74-63. Malaysia’s best ever performance in the Asean Para Games was also in 2001. The hosts then won 143 golds to become overall champion.
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