Syed Saddiq insists Malaysia can still meet seven-gold target

YOUTH and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (pic) is not pressing the panic button just yet.

He is optimistic the Malaysian contingent will meet their seven-gold medal target with just one more week remaining in the Asian Games. Currently, Malaysia only have three gold medals to show through bowling (women’s trio and men’s Masters) and squash (women’s singles).

Yesterday, Rafiq Ismail delivered the third gold by winning the men’s Masters. The other two were delivered by Syaidatul Afifah Badrul Hamidi, Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman and Esther Cheah (women’s trio, bowling) and Nicol David (women’s singles, squash).

Malaysia missed out on three gold medals yesterday as pencak silat prospects Mohd Al-Jufferi Jamari, Mohd Faizul Mohd Nasir and the track cycling team settled for silvers.

The track cycling team led by Azizulhasni Awang, who set a new national and Asian Games record during the qualifying, missed out on the gold medal after losing to China in the men’s team sprint final.

“Anything can happen in sports ... there are still sports which can deliver the unexpected gold medals for us. We still have Azizulhasni, who will compete in the individual keirin and sprint events. There is team squash and pencak silat too,” said Syed Saddiq after watching the pencak silat finals at the Padepokan Pencak Silat in Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) yesterday.

Commenting on Jufferi’s shock loss, Syed Saddiq leapt to the three-time world champion’s defence.

“Athletes have done their best and they should not be blamed. I came here as a supporter and I’m proud of Jufferi’s accomplishments. He should not give up, because he’s the world champion and is capable of more achievements.”