KORAT, Dec 15 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian contingent ended their Korat SEA Games campaign on a high with 68 gold medals to finish second overall behind host Thailand who finished at the top with 183 gold medals.
The 68 gold, 52 silver and 96 bronze feat ranks as the best performance in a SEA Games held outside the country and also was the second best performance in the history of the SEA Games since 1959 (SEAP Games).
The second place also bettered the fourth place finish in the 2005 Manila SEA Games with 61 gold, 48 silver and 61 bronze, which till now stood as the best performance outside the country.
Malaysia's best ever performance was when the 2001 Games was hosted in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia emerged overall champion with 111 gold, 75 silver and 85 bronze and the second best performance before this (67) was also when Kuala Lumpur hosted the Games in 1989.
According to National Sports Council (NSC) Director-General Datuk Zolkples Embong the tally could have increased if not for the exclusion of women's squash, the absence of our top badminton players and gymnast Ng Shu Wai (winner of three gold medals at the Manila SEA Games from artistic gymnastics).
"I received a message from Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said that the Cabinet and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi are pleased with the overall performance of the Malaysian contingent," Zolkples told Malaysian journalists at the V-One Hotel here today.
Malaysia who achieved the 64-gold target yesterday, added four more today from the 17 gold medals on offer through a three-gold feat from rhythmic gymnastics and the polo team.
He added that the NSC's statistics showed that Six sports performed above expectations, 10 achieved the projected target, six were under achievers while 22 other sports not categoried under medal prospects, "lived up to expectations" by not delivering any gold.
"The six sports that performed above expectations were swimming, basketball, snooker, equestrian, karate-do and sailing," he said.
Swimming had set a 5-gold target but delivered seven (140 per cent), diving contributed another seven though the target was three (233.33%), karate-do had targetted four but swept eight (200%), equestrian's target was two but raked in four (200%) sailing had one on the list but came in with two (200%) while there was no medal target for basketball and snooker but contributed one each (200%).
The 10 sports that achieved the NSC's target are athletics 7, tenpin bowling (4), artistic gymnastics (2), hockey (2), squash (1), taekwondo (2), triathlon (1), wushu (2), polo (1) and lawn bowls (4).
The worst of the under achievers was pencak silat as there was no gold medals despite the three projected, while shooting only managed 50 per cent of the four gold expectation, cycling collected four out of six, rhythmic gymnastics fell one short of the five expected, archers also missed one from the targetted three while badminton joined pencak silat on a zero count.
"We will review the performances of each and every sport funded by NSC and decide on the funding. We have already introduced the Key Performance Index (KPI) for National Sports Association (NSAs) and that will provide us a basis for assessment," said Zolkples.
"Those that did not come under NSC's programme but did well here like triathlon, equestrian can also join as our priority now will be 2010 Asian Games and 2012 Olympics. But we will also maintain our focus on the 2009 SEA Games in Laos."