NO PRES­SURE ON ATH­LETES

Khairy says 111-gold medal tar­get is a bal­anced fig­ure

New Straits Times - - Sport - Devinder Singh devinder@nst.com.my

IT is go­ing to take a sim­i­lar ef­fort as in 2001 for Malaysia to emerge over­all cham­pi­ons of the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games which be­gins next week. Sports Min­is­ter Khairy Ja­malud­din said 111 gold medals, the same num­ber the na­tional con­tin­gent won in 2001 to top the medal tally for the first time, is the tar­get this time.

“We chose a tar­get of 111 gold medals af­ter look­ing at all sce­nar­ios,” said Khairy af­ter the flag-hand­ing over by Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak to chef-de-mis­sion Datuk Ma­rina Chin in Pu­tra­jaya yes­ter­day.

“We are op­ti­mistic in some sports and some where we are con­ser­va­tive. We find this is a bal­anced fig­ure.

“There is anal­y­sis which say it could be more or it could be less but we feel that this is a num­ber we are com­fort­able with to be over­all cham­pi­ons and in­ci­den­tally it is the same as in 2001.”

Khairy said com­ing out with an of­fi­cial tar­get was not in­tended to put pres­sure on the na­tional ath­letes to de­liver results but to sat­isfy the pub­lic.

“I don’t say to the ath­letes that you are marked for a gold medal,” said Khairy, who will also com­pete in the Sea Games in polo.

“Those who can win a gold medal know they can win a gold medal. This is more to sat­isfy the pub­lic, who wanted a tar­get so we give them a tar­get.

“As far we are con­cerned, in­side the camp we are not ob­sess­ing over the tar­get. If they do their best, then the gold medals will flow.”

Aside from the Sea Games, Khairy also an­nounced that for Malaysia to be­come over­all win­ners of the Asean Para Games next month, 103 gold medals would be needed.

Ma­rina said she is com­fort­able with the tar­get set and be­lieves it is within reach of the na­tional con­tin­gent’s abil­ity.

“Look­ing at the prepa­ra­tion of ath­letes, it is a fair tar­get,” said Ma­rina. “Like I said many times, a tar­get does not bring on ad­di­tional pres­sure.

“But I don’t want it to be a bur­den on the ath­letes which is why the man­age­ment does not high­light which ath­letes are able to win gold. The ath­letes know them­selves.

“If the time and con­di­tions are right, any­body is ca­pa­ble of win­ning gold. But gold is not nec­es­sar­ily a tar­get for ev­ery ath­lete.”

Mean­while, the Viet­namese foot­ball team be­came the first for­eign ath­letes to of­fi­cially ar­rive yes­ter­day for the Sea Games, though some oth­ers are al­ready here to get used to con­di­tions in the coun­try.

“A few foot­ball teams ar­rived to­day, with Viet­nam the first, and so far so good. Their ar­rival went smoothly and of course, the in­flux of ath­letes will in­crease over the com­ing days,” said Khairy.

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