KUALA LUMPUR: The National Sports Council (NSC) does not consider any one sport to have failed at the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games after the country achieved its' best-ever medal haul as the multi-sport event ended on Wednesday.
With a final total of 145 gold, 92 silver and 86 bronze medals, Malaysia finished top of the medal tally for only the second time and first since 2001, when Malaysia won 111 gold medals.
Malaysia won more than a third of the gold medals on offer during the more than two weeks of competition and doubled the 72 gold won by second-placed Thailand.
NSC director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said the performance of the 844 athletes in the national contingent can be categorized into excellent, good and satisfactory terms.
"There are sports such as diving and silat which were excellent and had their best performances while others exceeded or met their targets," he said in providing an analysis of Malaysia's performances in 38 sports contested.
"There were no sports in which we consider to have failed. We exceeded our target of 111 gold medals and of those 16 gold medals slipped through our fingers but we compensated by winning 35 gold elsewhere, which we consider a bonus."
Shapawi also highlighted the achievements of Khairul Hafiz Jantan in winning the 100m gold medal after 14 years and the exploits of cyclists Azizulhasni Awang and Fatehah Mustapa.
While questions were raised as to whether it was appropriate to have world champions dominate sports such as diving and cycling, Shapawi said the chance to perform on home ground was a strong motivating factor for these athletes.
"This was a rare chance for many of our established athletes to perform at a Sea Games on home ground and we could not say no to them," said Shapawi, adding, the fact that 445 athletes made their Sea Games debut as a positive development for sports in the country.
Shapawi admitted, however, that Malaysia will not likely see a repeat of this performance when the Philippines host the next Sea Games in 2019.
"It all depends on what sports will be held there but it is not impossible to challenge Thailand and the Philippines as we showed in Brunei in 1999 in when only 20 sports were held," said Shapawi, referring to Malaysia's second-placing then.
"We will try as hard as we can to achieve a best finish as possible."
Malaysian chef-de-mission Datuk Marina Chin said she is not surprised by Malaysia's strong performance.
"When we set the target with the national sport associations, I have to admit we were a bit conservative," said Marina.
"We didn't know then how the other countries were doing and so we also had a list of bonus gold medals."