For all intent and purpose, Malaysian sports officials, be it from the Olympic Council of Malaysia and the National Sports Council will be giving themselves a pat on the back for surpassing the gold medal target of 4- to return home with 43 gold medals from the Myanmar SEA Games.
But in reality if we are to take a hard look at the performances against the millions spent, there is really not much to rejoice but rather it goes on to show our sports scenario is either sliding or stagnated.
True there are heroes, some household names amongst the young who will look at the star performers at the SEA Games as their idols, but we must take into perspective several sports or athletes that did nopt deliver.
When targets are set, they are an indication that the particular sport or athlete will deliver the goal medal at the regional games.
The 40 gold medal haul was set a month ago, a relatively low and safe target as NSC and OCM opted to to give a true reflection on the state of sports in the country, thus the target released was based on sports, not by athlete as was the case when Dato Wira Mazlan Ahmad was the Director general of the NSC.
In case many may have forgotten, the 40 gold medals were to come as following swimming (3), diving (8), cycling (1), bodybulding (1), football (1), hockey (2), karate (6), archery (3), shooting (1), muaythai (1), athletics (1), sailing (2)si;at (3) and wushu (3).
So one just has to compare the target to the gold medals won to realise that it was not a proper target and NSC should take the blame as they gave false hopes, only for some outstanding performers to save the day.
Another argument put forward by the National Sports Council was that 25 gold medals came from Olympic sports.
Let’s take a closer look at the Olympic sports that delivered gold medals. diving accounted for eight with archery recurve two, athletics (4), hockey (2), swimming (4), shooting (1), sailing (2) and badminton (1).
Though endurance and archery are Olympic sports the disciplines we won gold are not in Olympics while karate that delivered six golds is not contested at Olympics.
Besides hockey, badminton, archery, diving and shooting, the others can hardly make a mark at the Asiad what more the Olympics.
Truth be told there were star performers who did the nation pround and they must be acknowledged.
The likes of Phoon Eyin from wushu who secured the nationas 1,000 gold medal but was left to fend for herself. Who can gorget Mohd Irgfan Shamsuddin who took gold in discuss, rewriting the national record five times in his six throws.
The two muaythai exponents also deserve special mention, Mohd faizal Ramli and Lokman Akimi Mat Roji who both secired gold against all odds, Lim Chee Wei who registered comprehensive wins on his way to gold in the individiual kata category.
While some rejoiced at Malaysia winning the womens hockey match 36-0 against Cambodia thus creating a world record, it was in bad taste.
In the kingdom of the blind, those with one eye rule, hence Malaysia which is a world poweer in hockey should really have not rubbed salt into the wounds of teams like Cambodia and such scoreline goes on to show their “Jagauh Kampung: mentality and killed the promotion of the sport in the region.
What was more amusing was the statement by mens coach tai Beng Hai who was quoted as saying that Malaysia did well to retain the gold medal despite the absence of some senior players. For gods sake Beng Hai, you had 10 World Cup training squad members.
Badminton is another sport that failed despite the gold medal as did cycling which in reality is being run by the NSC directly.
So what next, give each other pats on the back, nevermind we only won only 43 golds as opposed to 59 two years ago, but then again that was the only item going down as all other stuff will go up come January.