Rakyat root for athletes in SEA Games

PETALING JAYA: Sports enthusiasts cheered and celebrated all medals amassed in the 2022 SEA Games and wished all national athletes a “stunning and injury-free competition”.

Athletics enthusiast Aisyah Farhana Mohd Fisal offered her congratulations and hoped all national athletes would have a safe and injury-free contest now that they are able to represent Malaysia again.

“All of Malaysia is with you. We know it has been a hard time for everyone these past two years and seeing our Malaysian flag fly high on the international level brings joy, regardless of the situation,” the 22-year-old said.

Commenting on the success of the national diving team, she said our athletes have been “outstandingly professional” on the international stage, especially since Covid-19 may have caused them to “get a little rusty” in a competitive setting.

Aisyah added that the country’s athletes have been delivering their best so far, hence she is looking forward to watching them in action.

“I am looking forward to seeing national shotputter Ziyad Zolkefli rise to the occasion again especially after a sour experience in Tokyo.

“I have a feeling that he will be a showstopper. I also can’t wait to see Muhammad Irfan Shamsuddin, the discus thrower, retain his gold medal. Regardless, we are all Malaysians and we stand behind all of you no matter what,” she said.

Athletics coach Phuang Leun Lok, 61, believes that Malaysia should be happy with all the medals clinched especially since some of the athletes did not have the advantage of joining international competitions due to the pandemic.

“I hope the Malaysian contingent will do their utmost best under the current situation as a majority of them were not privileged to exposure in competitions prior to the Games. I think the pandemic has affected all other contingents,” he said.

Phuang said it was still too soon to provide any comments about the Games since most competitions have yet to come to the medal determination round.

Volleyball enthusiast Muhammad Rahmuni Shahmi Mohd Suffian, 23, said Malaysia is soaring to greater heights this season and hopes the country would be able to surpass Vietnam in the medal tally.

“I hope the athletes can give their all despite Covid-19 and win in their respective games,” he said.

Muhammad Rahmuni shared that he was beyond thrilled when he heard news that the national volleyball team would be competing in this round of the SEA Games.

“The volleyball team did not compete in the previous edition, so I am very excited to see them in action. That is the main highlight for me,” he said.

To date, Malaysia has shone in the competition and bagged more than 10 golds in the first week, nine from diving alone in this edition of the SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said the official medal target is 36 gold, 35 silver and 75 bronze medals.

Malaysia has sent 586 athletes to compete in 36 sports in the Games from May 12 to May 23.

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