IPOH, May 3 — Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu is confident that Malaysia can achieve the 36-gold medal target at the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam based on the determination shown by the athletes.
“The events that our athletes usually focus on will not be contested (in Hanoi) this time, resulting in us not setting a high target for our athletes.
“This is because of the absence of international sports events for two years (due to the Covid-19 pandemic), (so) we cannot evaluate the performance of our athletes (for the setting of a high target),” he told reporters at the Aidilfitri open house at his residence today.
Malaysia’s target for the biennial Games, to be held from May 12 to May 23, is 36 gold, 35 silver and 75 bronze medals, for a total haul of 146 medals.
Ahmad Faizal was also impressed with the sacrifice and dedication shown by the 584 national athletes who continued to undergo night training sessions during the Ramadhan month.
“They still stayed focused so that they can give their best at the SEA Games despite having to sacrifice celebrating Aidilfitri with their family members,” he said.
Based on current performance, 15 sports are being targeted to contribute to the 36 gold medals, with diving and athletics expected to be a gold mine for the national contingent in Hanoi, with each sport being entrusted with contributing more than five gold medals.
Malaysia’s best-ever achievement in the history of the SEA Games since its inaugural edition in 1959 in Bangkok was bagging 145 golds, 92 silvers and 86 bronzes to emerge as the overall champions of the 2017 edition in Kuala Lumpur.
At the 2019 edition in the Philippines, the national contingent failed to meet the target of 70 gold medals when they returned home with a 55-58-71 medal haul.