MALAYSIA created a “storm” at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara.
The national netball team were crowned SEA Games champions after 16 long years as they produced an explosive performance to stun defending champions Singapore 65-41 in front of a sellout crowd yesterday.
There was no stopping the Malaysians from the opening whistle as they raced into a 20-7 lead in the first quarter. Singapore had no answer against the spirited Malaysians, who were spurred on by the vociferous supporters.
They grew stronger as Singapore began to make far too many mistakes and this allowed Malaysia to take charge 36-12 by the second quarter. Singapore tried hard to stage a comeback but Malaysia never gave them a chance as they led 51-28 in the third quarter before wrapping up for an impressive 24-goal win.
Crowd favourite An Najwa Azizan did not let her fans down, grabbing 31 points.
“We truly deserve this victory. It’s a team effort and we really played our hearts out,” said Najwa.
Singapore captain Vanessa Lee admitted that the Malaysians started off with a bang.
“We were shaky and were reduced to playing catch-up. It’s time for us to learn from this,” said Vanessa.
Another star performer for Malaysia, Norashikin Kamal Zaman, described the gold medal “as really special”.
“The last time we won it was 16 years ago. We tried hard and finally our persistence paid off,” said Norashikin.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor were at the final. The Prime Minister later presented the medals to the winners.