Wednesday, 18 January 2017
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will have to bag at least 109 gold medals to achieve their target of becoming overall champions at the 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur from Aug 19-31.
This is the estimation reached by the National Sports Council (NSC) based on the feedback from the national sports associations at the second phase of the Kita Juara training camp two weeks ago.
A total of 38 sports and 405 events will be contested in KL.
According to the NSC, 22 sports have gold medal prospects with aquatics and cycling tipped to be the biggest contributors.
Diving and cycling are tipped to win 11 golds each.
The other contributors are squash (seven), rhythmic gymnastics (six), wushu (six), karate (six) and athletics (six).
Thailand are projected to finish second overall with close to 100 golds.
Malaysia only emerged overall champions once – when it hosted the Games in 2001. Then, Malaysia bagged 111 golds in the 32 sports contested.
Malaysia chef de mission Datuk Marina Chin (pic), however, did not set any target for the contingent at the team managers’ meeting last Saturday.
“It is only the beginning of the year.
“There could be injuries and a drop in form.
“The most important thing is to prepare our athletes well without putting unnecessary pressure on them,” she said.
Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) president Datuk Abu Samah Wahab believes a double-digit gold haul is realistic for cycling.
“We can possibly deliver 11 to 13 golds in both track and road events as we have home advantage,” he said.
Malaysia Karate Federation (Makaf) secretary general Datuk Vincent Chen is confident of meeting the six-gold target.
“We can deliver more depending on our exponents’ form.
“I think six golds should see us finish as overall champions in karate again,” he said.