Asean Schools Games 2017

Malaysia eye SEA Games clean sweep

Malaysia's Izzah Amzan performing her ribbon routine at the Bishan Sports Hall. She scored 13.617 points in the final to win gold. The 17-year-old was the star of the Asean Schools Games rhythmic gymnastics competition, winning four golds.
Malaysia's Izzah Amzan performing her ribbon routine at the Bishan Sports Hall. She scored 13.617 points in the final to win gold. The 17-year-old was the star of the Asean Schools Games rhythmic gymnastics competition, winning four golds.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Malaysia have signalled their quest to go for total domination at the SEA Games' rhythmic gymnastics competition next month.

Still stinging from losing to Singapore in the team event at the last Games hosted by the Republic, the Malaysians returned to the Bishan Sports Hall yesterday and completed a clean sweep of six golds at the Asean Schools Games (ASG).

Four of the golds were won by Izzah Amzan, a 17-year-old Bukit Jalil Sports School student who is tuning up for her SEA Games debut.

After finishing runner-up to team-mate Rayna Hoh in the ball and hoop finals yesterday, Izzah scored 14.717 points to pip Rayna (14.534) to gold in the clubs final. Thai Thanyaphat Sungvornyothin (12.550) claimed the bronze.

In the ribbon final, Izzah scored 13.617 points to beat Thanyaphat (13.300) and SEA Games-bound Malaysian Chong Lok Yi (12.217).

On Tuesday, Izzah also won the all-around title and was part of Malaysia's winning team.

None of Singapore's SEA Games-bound gymnasts competed at the ASG. But Petrina Low, the vice-president of the Malaysian Gymnastics Federation, was pleased that Malaysia had thrown down the gauntlet at the ASG and said that her team are targeting a haul of all eight golds on offer at the Aug 19-30 Kuala Lumpur Games.

With their main focus on that mission, Izzah and Lok Yi will be skipping today's closing ceremony at Universal Studios Singapore to return home as early as possible.

Izzah said: "This is the life of an athlete. But it's OK because I need to get ready for the SEA Games. I need to polish my routines."

And Low, who was watching from the sidelines yesterday, has already noted what Izzah needs to work on.

She said: "I'm going to work on Izzah's mentality, which is still weak.

"I expected them to win this competition, and their results are a boost for the SEA Games."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2017, with the headline 'Malaysia eye SEA Games clean sweep'. Print Edition | Subscribe