Friday, July 11, 2014

No breakdown of target for team morale

MALAYSIA will win at least seven gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, five less than four years ago, but chef-de-mission Datuk Ong Poh Eng does not know where the medals will come from.

In seeking to protect the “morale” of the athletes, Poh Eng declined to provide a breakdown of his seven gold-target after receiving the “Jalur Gemilang” on behalf of the Glasgow-bound contingent from Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin yesterday.

“As you know, Scotland will be very tough,” Malaysian Weightlifting Federation president Poh Eng said in Bukit Jalil.

“In Manchester (2002), we won seven gold and in Melbourne (2006) also, we won seven.
“In India, 12 gold medals was a great achievement. After looking at many aspects, we have to achieve at least seven gold medals.”

When asked where the gold medals will come from, Poh Eng became evasive: “We don’t have a breakdown of the gold medals because we want to protect team morale. We are looking at overall (in terms of the target).”

The loss of Lee Chong Wei, badminton’s world No 1 and near-certainty for gold in the men’s singles, to injury could also be a factor.

Khairy did not want to get involved in the predicting the number of gold medals, saying that is for the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) to decide.

“I leave it to OCM to make the announcement because they represent the national sport associations,” said Khairy in his speech to the contingent before later backing Poh Eng’s stance.

OCM honorary secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi was more forthcoming when he listed badminton, cycling, diving, squash, lawn bowls, rhythmic gymnastics, shooting and weightlifting as the sports expected to deliver gold.

“Prior to the 1998 Games which Kuala Lumpur hosted, we only used to win gold in badminton,” said Koh Chi.

“But our standards have since improved and we can now win gold in eight or nine sports.
“We should not measure ourselves just by the number of gold medals won but also the overall number of medals. I hope we can maintain or exceed the 36 medals we won in 2010 (which is a record for Malaysia).”  

by Devinder Singh - NST

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