JAKARTA: They brought home eight gold medals, the best ever haul in the Asian Games, but Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is disappointed with the Malaysian contigents performance in Doha.
The Malaysian public, he said, expected more from them.
Najib who chairs the Cabinet committee of sports development said Malaysian athletes must be hungry for success. Unless you have the desire to succeed, you will never be able to achieve success at the highest level.
The Malaysian contingent won eight golds, one short of the target of nine but it could have been far more, considering that Malaysia had four losing finalists in karate, Mr Universe Sazali Samad was quite unfairly deprived of gold, as was Liaw Teck Leong; and cyclist Josiah Ng's near-miss in the keirin final.
Najib said that although the athletes' achievement was not far from the target, their success was not up to par.
Our achievement is reasonable but there is plenty of room for improvement. I think the Malaysian public expects more. We cannot be satisfied with our achievements when other countries are progressing by leaps and bounds in their training and preparations, he told Malaysian journalists after paying a courtesy call on Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono here yesterday.
Najib wanted more commitment from Malaysian athletes saying such a commitment must involve all parties.
In sports we cannot depend solely on the Government. There are other components involved like the athletes, sports associations and even their family members. All these are recipes for the success of an athlete.
If the components are not playing their roles, we will not be able to produce world class athletes. The preparation for a world class athlete must involve great sacrifices, he added.
Indeed. There is little reason for Malaysia to be satisfied. Certainly not when China, with 165 gold medals, feel they have not done well enough.