GEORGE TOWN: Penangites are thrilled over Malaysia’s clinching of the “overall champion” title for the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Sea Games, beating ever-dominant Thailand and Indonesia by a large margin of gold medals.
What’s more, the feat was achieved in the run-up to Merdeka.
Fourteen-year-old student V. Kiran Raj said that local fans provided much-needed moral support to the athletes by turning up at event venues and cheering throughout the competition.
"Being the host of the competition was definitely an advantage for us, as we could have more people show support for our athletes. All the cheers boosted their confidence.
"Malaysia's 145 golds is truly a remarkable achievement. The athletes have made us proud on the international stage," he said.
However, Kiran Raj was upset that the Malaysian football team could not best Thailand despite displaying tremendous skill throughout the competition.
Secretary Farah Alwani Romeli, 25, believes that Malaysia has what it takes to become a dominant country in other Sea Games, on par with Thailand and Indonesia.
She said that our athletes showed promising signs and most of them are still young, which means that they have ample time to hone their skills to improve themselves and compete in other competitions as well.
"With my busy work schedule, I was only able to watch football, but the nine-year-old waterskier who won the gold medal really caught my attention when I read about him in the news.
"He won at a very young age, and I believe he has a great future in the category," she said.