MALAYSIA did well in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games -- winning five silver and two bronze medals -- but it will be tall order for the national gymnasts to achieve even half of that in the 2010 edition. Durratun Nashihin Rosli and Ng Shu Wai, who secured four and one silver respectively in Melbourne, have retired and most of the artistic and rhythmic gymnasts for New Delhi are new faces.
Injuries to Azzam Azmi and Sharil Johari, two of the most experienced members of the men's artistic team, have further weakened Malaysia's medal chances.
Nevertheless, Malaysia Gymnastics Federation (MGF) president Professor Datuk Dr. Zakaria Ahmad is optimistic the gymnasts are good for two medals in New Delhi.
Medals are expected from the women's artistic gymnastics team and one from rhythmic gymnastics, in which Elaine Koon and Nur Hidayah Abdul Wahid will be competing.
"Things have changed drastically since the Melbourne Games where we did reasonably well but retirements and injuries mean we will have a relatively inexperienced squad this time," said Zakaria.
"Our girls in the artistic event will be competing for the first time but the have shown improvement and we are hoping for a medal.
"Another medal may come from rhythmic gymnasts or even in the individual events of the women's artistic gymnastics.
"Traditionally, Australia, Canada and England have been strong and hosts India have also been improving.
"We are building a new squad and it is not going to be easy for them. But we are hopeful they can create a surprise or two."
The absence of Azzam and Shahril has forced MGF to recall Onn Kwang Tung, who has competed in all editions since 1998, and Irwan Miskob but the men are expected to face a difficult time.
Women's artistic gymnast Tracie Ang, who finished seventh in the individual all around and balance beam in the World Cup leg in Belgium a fortnight ago, is expected to lead the team to a medal.
A fractured hand suffered during the Malaysia Games in Malacca in June has slowed down Cheong See Teng but she will be alongside Chan Sau Wah, Noor Hasleen Fatihin Hasnan and Farah Ann Abdul Hadi in seeking a medal in the team event.
Elaine and Nur Hidayah are also making their debuts but hopes are high that they will maintain Malaysia's tradition of winning a medal in rhythmic gymnastics since 1998.