SEA Games medal target: Malaysia should vie against Vietnam, not Singapore, for top three spots, says OCM chief

KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 — Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria hopes the national contingent’s failure to meet the target at the Cambodia SEA Games will open the eyes of all parties to the need to restructure the country’s sports model.

He said that even if the national contingent had secured the targeted 40 gold medals, it would still not be something to brag about.

He pointed out that Malaysia shouldn’t be competing against the likes of Singapore or the Philippines, instead it should be challenging Vietnam,
Thailand and Indonesia for the top three places in the medal tally at the biennial Games.

“Even if we had achieved 40 gold medals, would it have changed Malaysia’s seventh placing? Do we compare ourselves to Singapore, who won 17 more gold medals, or Vietnam, which won 102 more gold medals?

“Our sports model is outdated and needs changes… the whole world has evolved, and so has sports, we need to accept change and bring in new ideas. We must also return to becoming the top three nations in Southeast Asia,” he said at the media conference on Malaysia’s 2023 SEA Games performance, here, today.

Malaysia recorded its worst-ever performance in the history of the biennial Games since 1959 when it ended the Cambodia Games in seventh position with 34 golds, 45 silvers, and 97 bronzes, thus failing to meet the targeted haul of 40-37-67.

Meanwhile, Mohamad Norza urged national sports associations (NSAs) to carry out institutional reforms by creating two ‘engines’ to increase talent in sports.

“Enough of only having state associations, what about the private sector and clubs? Must increase talent pool through clubs,” he said.

He also called on the Malaysia Athletics Federation (MAF) and Malaysia Swimming (MS) to take immediate action to improve performance as both these Olympics sports offered the highest number of medals, with 86 gold medals up for grabs.

“Swimming only won one out of the 39 gold medals and athletics clinched five out of 47 golds. Since the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines, I have spoken about these two sports because they are category one sports, so we need to prioritise properly and expand their roles,” he said. — Bernama