Friday, March 24

SEA Games: It’s 36 golds… and counting for Malaysia


National karate athlete Sureeya Sankar Hari Sankar (right) in action against Indonesia during the Hanoi SEA Games May 21, 2022. ― Bernama photo

HANOI (May 21): The national contingent can heave a huge sigh of relief now that they have achieved the 36-gold medal target on the 13th day of the Hanoi SEA Games here yesterday.

Malaysian athletes began the day knowing that they were just two short of the 36-gold target and they duly delivered.

The much-awaited gold came from the national karate squad in the men’s team kumite event, with S. Prem Kumar, Sureeya Sankar Hari Sankar and R. Sharmendran delivering the points to beat Indonesia 3-0 in the final yesterday evening.

It was indeed a day of double joy as they not only helped the Malaysian contingent achieve the 36-gold target but also ended the karate team’s 29-year wait for SEA Games glory in the men’s team kumite event.

Earlier, national shooter Nurul Syasya Nadiah Mohd Arifin delivered the 35th gold medal when she created an upset by winning the women’s 10-metre (m) air pistol final in her maiden SEA Games appearance.

National weightlifter Muhamad Aznil Bidin, meanwhile, managed to bag a silver in the 61-kilogramme (kg) category with a lift of 287kg, thus erasing his own national mark of 285kg that he had set in Pattaya, Thailand in 2019. National cyclists also did not disappoint when they contributed a bronze medal at the Hoa Binh Province, about 75 kilometres (km) from here.

It came courtesy of 2021 national champion Muhammad Nur Aiman Rosli, who is also a rider with Team Sapura Cycling (TSC), in the 39.56km men’s individual time trial.

Meanwhile, Malaysia had to be contented with two bronze medals in boxing when Mohd Aswan Che Azmi (69kg category) and Khir Akyazlan Azmi (81kg category) lost in the semi-finals.

In Muay Thai, Malaysia are assured of at least two silver medals when two exponents checked into Sunday’s (May 22) finals of their respective events.

Nur Amisha Azrilrizal is in the final of the women’s elite below 51kg category while Ahmad Nor Iman Aliff Rakib confirmed his ticket to the men’s elite below 54kg final.

With three more days to go before the curtain comes down on the biennial Games on Monday (May 23), the national contingent are in sixth position in the medal standings with a haul of 36 golds, 40 silvers and 79 bronzes.

Hosts Vietnam remained perched atop the standings with 165 golds, 97 silvers and 96 bronzes, followed by Thailand (67-77-108), Indonesia (49-68-63), Singapore (47-44-62) and the Philippines (42-59-82).

Tomorrow, Malaysia will be banking on shooters Johnathan Wong and Nurul Syasya Nadiah to add to the country’s gold medal tally when they combine for the 10-metre (m) mixed team air pistol event.

Based on their achievement so far in the Games here, Johnathan and Nurul Syasya Nadiah, who both won their 10m air pistol individual events respectively, are fancied to bag the gold medal in the mixed category. ― Bernama