KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 (Bernama) -- The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) have named three sports that Malaysia are likely to make a clean sweep of gold at the upcoming 24th SEA Games in Korat, Thailand in December.
They are squash, hockey and lawn bowls.
"We have seen them (athletes) perform and I am sure that they can make a clean sweep. For squash, although we are not sending our top players, our athletes are known as the best in Southeast Asian region.
"So too the men's and women's hockey teams and the lawn bowls athletes. They are recognised as the best in the region," said OCM president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja'afar after announcing the outcome of the two-day OCM's Selection Committee meeting here today.
He said Malaysia would send a large contingent consisting of 649 athletes to the biennial games .
He said that to date, athletics and judo had yet to submit their name lists.
Tunku Imran also said that for this year's SEA Games, OCM had decided to revise the category A criteria.
"For category A, it is given to athletes who are well qualified and have very good medal prospects. As for measurement, we set a qualifying mark of a silver medal in the last SEA Games.
"We are also looking at teams and individuals who need the SEA Games exposure to benchmark their performance against the best in Southeast Asia," Tunku Imran said.
He said that by doing that, it would give the sports associations and the athletes the opportunity to gain SEA Games experience as they might not have any other opportunity to represent Malaysia in other major Games.
"We are looking at them for the future SEA Games. Some of them may achieve medals. At the SEA Games, sometimes a star emerges," he added.
As for category B -- it is meant for teams or individuals OCM believes are good enough to participate in SEA Games but may not be medal prospects.
"All National Sports Association will be able to appeal if they wish to move their athletes from B category to A category if they provide the information or data on their athletes' performance. After the list has been finalised, may be some of the NSAs for sports in category B might withdraw and not take up the challenge," said Tunku Imran.
The NSAs are requested to file in their appeals before Oct 1.
Tunku Imran also said Malaysia will not participate in four of 47 sports events contested at the Korat SEA Games -- baseball, wrestling, muay and traditional boat racing.
"For the first time, Malaysia will be sending a polo team consisting of six athletes under category A," he said.
OCM also has listed 10 athletes to vie for Go (also known as Weiqi), a Chinese chess game, which will be held as a demonstration sport. These athletes will be going under category B.