SOLO (Indonesia), Aug 6 — The performances of athletes from six sports was a major contributing factor in the overall success of the National contingent that finished fourth overall at the 11th Asean Para Games that ended here.
The six sports that performed exceptionally well were swimming, athletics, badminton, archery, wheelchair tennis and table tennis that were all placed under the National Sports Council’s (NSC) programme.
The 73-member Malaysian contingent that arrived in Solo, had suffered an initial setback when four members of the contingent were diagnosed with Covid-19, but that did not dampen the spirits of the rest who went on to win 36 gold, 20 silver and 14 bronze medals to finish fourth in the overall medal tally.
The number of gold medals won was twice the initial target of 16 gold medals set for the games due to several factors, especially the lack of training due to the pandemic while the organising committee here also had issues in prepations.
What was more encouraging is the fact that the size of the contingent was significantly small compared with the number of athletes who had participated in previous editions.
The swimming squad that was given a target of winning just five gold, two silver and three bronze medals, surpassed all expectations to turn the pool into a glittering avenue for gold medals, as swimmers splashed their way to 18 gold medals and five silvers.
Athletics was the second biggest contributor with 8 gold, 9 silver, 3 bronze while powerlifting (3-2-3), badminton (3-1-4), archery (2-1-1), wheelchair tennis (1-1-2) and table tennis (1-1-0) finished in that order.
Meanwhile, the men’s goalball squad that came into the competition as the defending champions, failed to live up to expectations by finishing with a bronze, while boccia, chess and sitting volleyball finished empty handed.
The head of the Malaysian contingent for APG, Col (R) Md Nor Azam Ariffin said the success in Solo, offered a positive outlook for Malaysia’s participation in the 2023 APG in Cambodia, Asian Para Games 2022 in Hangzhou, China and 2024 Paralympics in Paris.
"First and foremost I wish to thank all the athletes, coaches, managers, medical team, physiotherapists, NSC secretariat and the Malaysian Paralympic Council (MPC) for their contributions, assistance and support prior to the games and throughout the games.
"Secondly, the NSC must review reports and performances of all sports that took part in the games to enable a comprehensive preparation for future games. Credit must also be given to the host country for accommodating all our request for assistance,” he said.
Nor Azam also urged sports associations that are not under the NSC programme, to quickly draw out blueprints to chart the road map of their respective sport.
Meanwhile, host Indonesia emerged as the overall champion for the third time in the history of the APG by winning 175 gold, 144 silver and 107 bronze medals. Indonesia were overall champion in Myanmar 2013 and Kuala Lumpur 2017.
Six-time winners Thailand, finished second with 117 gold, 113 silver and 88 bronze while Vietnam finished third on (65-62-55). — Bernama