YOUNG and hungry – that aptly describes most of the gold medallists from the national track and field team.
In total, Malaysia won eight golds, broke three SEA Games records and shattered seven national marks.
This was way better than Singapore 2015 when they returned with just three golds.
Malaysia thus finished third overall behind champions Vietnam (17-11-6) and second-placed Thailand (9-13-11).
Of the eight golds, four were delivered by athletes aged below 23.
The undoubted star of the show has to be none other than 19-year-old Khairul Hafiz Jantan, who made a memorable Games debut by becoming the youngest 100m gold medallist with a time of 10.38 seconds.
Even younger is Grace Wong Xiu Mei. The 17-year-old shattered the Games women’s hammer record with a throw of 59.24m.
The Games also saw the emergence of a new walk queen in 21-year-old Elaine Goh Ling Yih. She captured the 10km walk gold.
Muhd Irfan Shamsuddin, 22, showed strength and courage to overcome a lower back injury and a sprained left ankle to bag his third consecutive gold in the men’s discus.
These four athletes can still compete in at least four to five more Games.
The other who delivered the goods include 25-year-old Jackie Wong Siew Cheer (Games record in the men’s hammer), 26-year-old Muhd Hakimi Ismail (Games record in the men’s triple jump), 25-year-old Nauraj Singh Randhawa (high jump gold for the third time in the Games) and 29-year-old Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian (men’s 110m hurdles).
And let’s not forget the achievement of para athlete Ziyad Zolkefli, who took on his able-bodied rivals and still won a bronze in the men’s shot putt.
As much as their achievements brought cheer to the country, it must be noted that we are still lagging far behind other countries in middle and long distance events.
Maybe that’s something the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) should look into.
Overall, track and field can view the KL Games as a moderate success.See our full coverage of SEA Games 2017