Malaysia still going great guns in SEA Games
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 — Malaysia continued their golden march with karate, squash, petanque and equestrian teams leading the way as the 29th SEA Games reached its midpoint today amid troubling news that several home athletes have been struck by food poisoning.
Also in the limelight were 16-year-old hammer thrower Grace Wong and pint–sized boxer Muhammad Fuad Mohd Redzuan who were among the stars in capturing eight gold by late afternoon. Silat, shooting and men’s petanque contributed a gold each.
Tasked with a 111-gold target, the hosts are way ahead at the top of the medals table with 58 gold. Trailing are Vietnam with 31, Singapore 27, 2015 overall champions Thailand 19, Indonesia 15, the Philippines 11 and Myanmar five.
Grace Wong, a Form Four student, stole the show with a thundering first throw and a SEA Games record of 59.24m in the hammer throw to upset previous champion Mingkammon Koomphon of Thailand who set the previous record of 56.57m two years ago.
Wong, a bronze medallist two years ago, landed a double for Malaysia as fellow Sarawakian Jackie Wong Siew Cheer had taken the men’s gold yesterday and shattered the record as well.
Muhamed Fuad, who had set his sights on a silver, held high Malaysia’s first ever boxing gold in eight years by beating the fancied Thani Narinram of Thailand in the light flyweight final. Malaysia’s other boxing finalist Adli Hafidz Mohd Pauzi settled for the silver in his bout against favourite Marvin John Nobel Tupas of the Philippines.
The national karate team was again in top form picking up a sixth gold medal from the men’s team kata and a silver in the women’s team kata. The competition draws to a close today with two more events pending.
A second gold from squash came from the all-Malaysia mixed doubles. Sanjay Singh Chal and S. Sivasangari claimed a narrow 11-9, 11-10 final contest over Ryan Neville Pasqual and Andrea Lee Qia Ji to extend Malaysia’s domination in the sport which is expected to bring in seven gold.
Coming out of seven years of retirement, siblings Quzandria Nur Mahamad Fathil and her elder brother, Mohd Qabil Ambak showed they are still in great form clinching the gold and silver in the individual dressage, a day after featuring in the gold winning team dressage.
Petanque produced a second gold medal for Malaysia through men’s doubles Saiful Bahri Musmin and Syed Akmal Fikri Syed Ali following in the footsteps of Muhammad Hafizuddin Mat Daud who was defending the men’s singles title on Tuesday.
Malaysa opened the pencak silat competition with Mohd Taqiuddin Hamid and Rosli Mohd Sharif upstaging Indonesia’s Hendy and Yolla Primadona Jumpil in the mens’s ganda to wrest the gold.
With 20 gold at stake, pencak silat is a crucial medal prospect for Malaysia and the homesters are expected to deliver having emerged overall champions in the Southeast Asian Silat Championships in March this year.
Muhd Ezuan Nasir Khan gave Malaysia a third gold in four days at the National Shooting Range, coming out tops in the men’s 50m rifle prone on 242.8 points fending off silver-placed Ong Jun Hong of Singapore on 239.5 points.
It was heartbreaking for the national lawn bowls team. The Philippine dashed Malaysia’s hopes of a golden start by taking the men’s fours title through Curte Robert Guarin, Emmanuel Portacio, Leoncio Carreon Jr and Ronald Lising in a close 16-14 battle over Daeng Dhadyry Dahasry, Izzat Shameer Dzulkeple, Safuan Said and Zulhilmie Redzuan
In badminton, Malaysia will have to look for gold in the individual championships after bowing out in the team competition. The women’s team went down 1-3 to defending champion Thailand while the men’s team was whipped 3-0 by Indonesia in the men’s final. — Bernama