KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 — Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has apologised for the country’s failure to meet 70-gold target at the recent SEA Games in the Philippines.
“As the Youth and Sports Minister, I assume full responsibility for the failure to deliver what was targeted. It is a collective responsibility of the Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) team, I, MSN (NSC, National Sports Council), ISN (National Sports Institute), national associations...I wish to say sorry to all sports fans in the country for this failure.
“I have told all (concerned) not to burden our athletes with negative comments. Let us take the blame and the collective responsibility; let it (criticism) be directed at us and not the athletes who have fought so long to enhance the country’s name,” he told reporters after chairing the NSC Board of Managers meeting here today.
Syed Saddiq said a preliminary report on the contingent’s performance had identified several weaknesses which caused the failure.
The contributing factors included over-confidence among several sports targeted to win gold medals like archery, sailing and tenpin bowling which had done well at the last Games and major championships before the Philippines outing.
The introduction of several new sports in the Philippines has also made it difficult for the athletes to compare their targets because there were no proper records to rely on.
He said the contingent’s failure to factor in the judging aspect of certain sports had also affected their ability to achieve the target.
“The rise of athletes from Vietnam and Thailand especially in traditional sports like athletics, swimming and sailing prevented us from meeting our medal target, apart from the fact that the Philippines as the hosts have thwarted our medal ambition in rugby and athletics in particular.
“Several athletes targeted for medals lost to athletes from other countries, especially the hosts who used dual-citizenship athletes, whose performance record was not available as they had never represented that country before,” he added.
Syed Saddiq, however, said the national contingent had made certain achievements which could not be denied, especially the eight back-up athletes who won two gold, three silver and five bronze medals.
The national contingent fell far short of their target when they won only 56 gold, 57 silver and 71 bronze medals at the Games, which ended on Dec 11. — Bernama