PETALING JAYA: Malaysia are aiming for a clean sweep of four gold medals in the women’s artistic event at the Philippines SEA Games.
National coach Ng Shu Wai made this announcement a day after Farah Ann Abdul Hadi qualified on merit for next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games.
She made the cut at the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, on Saturday.
Shu Wai said that he was not surprised with the 25-year-old Farah’s qualification to the Olympics.
“She made it because of her grit and passion, she has worked hard to achieve her dream, ” said Shu Wai.
“I was overjoyed by her success in Germany. I even texted everyone in the wee hours of the morning because it has been 20 years since we last had a woman gymnast in the Olympics.”
Au Li Yen was the last woman representative at the 2000 Sydney Games while Shu Wai was the last Malaysian to feature in the Olympics when he competed in the men’s artistic event at the 2004 edition in Athens.
While acknowledging Farah’s feat as truly memorable, Shu Wai said they would now shift their focus to the biennial Games from Nov 30-Dec 11.
Shu Wai said that together with coach Natalia Sinkova, they would whip up Malaysia’s four-member team – Farah, Tracie Ang, Tan Ing Yueh, Rachel Yeoh Li Wen and Nur Azira Aziri – into shape for the regional Games.
“The task to qualify for the Olympics is done and dusted. The focus is on the SEA Games now. Natalia and I will be coming up with intensive training and routines in the next two months, ” said Shu Wai.
“We are clear with our objectives, and that is to sweep all the gold medals in Manila.
“It will be tough, but I believe in our girls.”
Hosts Philippines are only contesting four events – floor exercise, balance beam, uneven bars and vault – after dropping the team and individual all-around.
At the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games, Malaysia won three gold medals – one was from the team consisting of Farah, Ing Yueh, Tracie, Azira, Nur Eli Ellina Azmi and Lavinia Raymund-Jayadev.
The other two came from the individual events – floor (Farah) and vault (Ing Yueh).
Meanwhile, Shu Wai hoped that Ing Yueh and Tracie would make up for their disappointment in Manila.
“I know Ing Yueh was really upset with her outing. We thought she could hit a score of 50 in the individual all-around, but she made a mistake in the floor event. Otherwise, she would have had a good chance of qualifying too.
“But it’s not the end. Ing Yueh and Tracie have the SEA Games to bounce back.”