KUALA LUMPUR: The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) prefer to see the Malaysian contingent become overall champions in the KL SEA Games with a better number of the total medals won.
OCM president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar said that should be the criteria used to judge the contingent’s performance in the 29th edition of the Games and not just based on the gold medals won.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had announced that the target set for the contingent to win the overall title was 111 gold medals.
Tunku Imran, however, said that the target was not OCM’s.
He said that the silver and bronze medallists should also be honoured.
“For example, we had our best Olympic outing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – winning five medals (four silver and one bronze). But Singapore, with just one gold, were ranked higher than us. (Singapore were placed 54th and Malaysia 60th).
“My contention is that we did better than Singapore from the overall view point.
“This is what I want to see here at the SEA Games.
“Let’s aim for the total haul and become champions,” he said after chairing the OCM Council meeting yesterday.
Malaysia have been overall champions just once – when they hosted the Games in 2001 and won 111 gold medals.
A total of 38 sports will be contested at the KL Games this year, with 404 gold medals at stake.
The biggest threat to Malaysia’s hopes of becoming overall champions will be northern neighbours Thailand.
Malaysia (884 athletes) and Thailand (818 athletes) are sending two of the largest contingents to the KL Games.
But the Thais will have a bigger contingent of officials – 447 to Malaysia’s 390.
Tunku Imran also said that it’s all systems go for the Games.
“Competition will take off on Monday while the official opening is on Aug 19. There will be some glitches here and there but we’re confident the Games will run smoothly. The first batch of foreign teams have arrived and I believe we will see some very keen competitions,” he said.