Malaysia wants to mine most golds in 2017

Tunku Imran, president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia, receiving the SEA Games Federation flag from Singapore National Olympic Council president Tan Chuan-Jin last night.
Tunku Imran, president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia, receiving the SEA Games Federation flag from Singapore National Olympic Council president Tan Chuan-Jin last night.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

KL hopes to build on what S'pore has done to ramp up entertainment value

THEY finished fourth in the SEA Games medal standings this year, 33 golds behind leaders Thailand, who harvested 95.

But that has not stopped 2017 SEA Games hosts Malaysia from signalling their intention to claim top honours in two years' time.

Malaysian chef de mission Norza Zakaria told The Straits Times: "I think we have done extremely well this year. We wanted to surpass our previous medal haul of 43 in Myanmar, my own internal prediction was 50, so now we have far surpassed it.

"In 2017, we (are aiming) to be the champion in the medal table."

The country last hosted the SEA Games in 2001 when it topped the medal tally with 111 golds, eight ahead of Thailand.

Norza was impressed with Singapore's hosting, especially in the use of light and sound effects at competition venues. He said Malaysia would look to build on that in 2017.

"Singapore has been a great host and we will try to emulate it and do better, in terms of organisation... and also giving services to the countries which are participating," he added.

Last night, at the SEA Games closing ceremony, Malaysia assumed the mantle of hosts.

Tunku Imran, president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia, received the SEA Games Federation flag from Singapore's Minister for Social and Family Development and Singapore National Olympic Council president Tan Chuan-Jin before handing it to Mr Khairy Jamaluddin, Malaysia's Youth and Sports Minister.

The capacity crowd was then treated to a performance titled Diversity In Motion.

Arifwaran Shaharuddin, director and choreographer of the segment, said he hoped the performance will inspire the nation to excel at the next Games.

He said: "The Malaysian athletes have exceeded expectations in terms of the number of gold medals, and we hope the next Games they will do the same, and bring the country together through sport."

siangyee@sph.com.sg

Additional reporting by Clara Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 17, 2015, with the headline 'MALAYSIA WANTS TO MINE MOST GOLDS IN 2017'. Print Edition | Subscribe