SEA Games Medal Target – Why the big fuss!

The nation hosts the Sea Games commencing August 19, though football will start early as usual from August 14.
While we boast of world class facilities, our ability in organising this regional event for the sixth time, besides even playing hosts to the 1998 Commonwealth Games, the run up to these games has left much to be desired.

From the delay in Technical Handbooks, a ruckus in some venues, down to poor ability to sort out trivial matters and even a disarray of ticket sales.

It has been one issue after another and lately the focus has shifted to the medal target, like and old record – being played time and again by those who obviously lack the wisdom and knowledge in sports.

As a reminder to journalists, in the past the NSC Director General Dato Wira Mazlan Ahmad was so good at predicting medal targets that he had the knack of not only being able to forecast our rally but even outline which particular athlete or event would deliver the gold.

Such was Mazlan’s ability that he did not just play mind games but studied the events, athletes and opponents so that he knew just where the next gold medal would come from.

I had the privilege of writing his column for The Malay Mail in 2001 when Mazlan was the Chef de Mission and led Malaysia to finish with 111 gold medals, something the 2017 Sea Games contingent hopes to better,

One must remember though that the 111 gold medals came from 34 events unlike the 38 that we have this year.

So really there is no necessity to compare in terms of medals won, be it then or now.

We will emerge champions – let there be no doubt about that and we will win more then 111 gold medals – I dare say in the range of 115 to 120 gold medals.

What we really want to see is our athletes churning our record breaking feats, bettering their personal bests and stamping their marks on non subjective events.

Our performances, must be, ought to be at least Asian Class and come August 31 our Sports Minister can proudly announce that we have the next generation of athletes that will make Malaysia proud in the 2018 Asian and Commonwealth Games as well as the 2020 Olympics.

So let’s stop harping on the medal target as it’s a forgone conclusion we will be overall champions, let’s instead focus on the athletes, the people behind the success and above all deliver a Games that we can all be proud off.

Give this country the feel good factor it longs for, enough of political battles on our front pages and news headlines – fill them up with the courageous efforts of our athletes that range from all races, be it from the bright city lights to the dark interiors, for these are our true fighters who bring glory to the nation through blood, sweat and tears.

Let us all cherish these games and put aside or personal and political differences.

Let us all rise together – as a united Malaysia.