145 golds for Merdeka joy

> Best ever SEA Games cam­paign by the Malaysian con­tin­gent

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian ath­letes fought with grit to the very end to wrap up their best ever SEA Games to emerge over­all cham­pi­ons and pre­sented a eu­phoric gift of 145 gold medals to the na­tion, which cel­e­brates its 60th an­niver­sary today.

In the fi­nal push yes­ter­day, Malaysia whacked five of the last seven golds at stake – two from div­ing as ex­pected and three from the ice skat­ing – to bring the cur­tains down on 12 days of com­pe­ti­tion.

This is the sec­ond time Malaysia has topped the Games af­ter their first in 2001 when they won 111 golds on home soil. Set­ting a sim­i­lar tar­get this time and to its ut­ter de­light, the na­tional ath­letes re­sponded with high fight­ing spirit and com­rade­ship to sur­pass the mark.

Tak­ing top spot on the medals board with 145 golds, 92 sil­vers and 86 bronzes, the host na­tion tow­ers over Thailand, which is go­ing home with 72 golds in­clud­ing the prized men’s foot­ball ti­tle for the third time in a row, a sharp drop from their 95-gold dom­i­na­tion of the Singapore Games two years ago.

Viet­nam fin­ished third by a whisker with 58 golds, just one ahead of Singapore, which is fol­lowed by In­done­sia with 38, the Philippines 24, Myan­mar seven, Cambodia three and Laos two. Round­ing up the 11 par­tic­i­pat­ing na­tions are Brunei, which has five sil­vers and eight bronzes and Ti­mor-Leste with three bronzes.

Na­tional divers signed off with the men’s and women’s ti­tles in syn­chro­nised 10m plat­form to sweep all 13 gold of­fered in the sport at the Na­tional Aquatic Cen­tre.

Leong Mun Yee and Traisy Vivien Tukiet faced no threat at all in re­tain­ing the women’s gold while in the men’s event, promis­ing 16year-old Jell­son Ja­billin and Ha­nis Nazirul Jaya Surya did not squan­der the op­por­tu­nity in nail­ing the men’s ti­tle for their first time.

The men’s gold was won two years ago by the more ex­pe­ri­enced Ooi Tze Liang and Chew Yi­wei, who are still in the team but are tak­ing a back seat to give the young­sters a chance to prove them­selves.

In the hotly con­tested fi­nal day of speed skat­ing, Malaysia’s 500m gold medal­list Anya Chong kept her cool to win a sec­ond Games medal from the 1,000m short track event with Ashley Chin tak­ing the bronze.

The two girls came back to pick up a fourth gold medal for Malaysia in the 3,000m re­lay with Nor Marissa Ahmad Lok­man and See Wan Ni in tow be­fore the men’s team took the 3,000m re­lay gold.

The first gold was won by fig­ure skater Ju­lian Yee.

In weightlift­ing, Malaysia’s best show was a sil­ver from Mo­hamad Fazrul Azrie in the men’s 85kg with a 323kg to­tal in­clud­ing 182kg in the clean and jerk that smashed his own na­tional record of 181kg set in May this year.

The gold was won by Thailand’s Porn­chai Lobsi with 337kg and the bronze went to Viet­namese Hoang Tan Tai on 322kg.

The next Games will be hosted by the Philippines. — Ber­nama

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