SEA Games 2019 gold medal potential looks bleak for Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, 11 June 2019:

The Malaysian Contingent to the SEA Games 2019 in the Philippines will lose a potential gold medal after the host dropped the men’s open water swimming category – which was won by our national swimmer at the 2017 edition in Kuala Lumpur.

The organiser, however, has replaced the men’s category with women’s open water swimming – which has received protests from several participating countries.

Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Datuk Seri Mohamad Norza Zakaria said the cancellation and the addition of the event will be announced to the National Sports Association (NSA) as it involves the preparation of athletes.

“We have just received a letter from the Sea Games Federation and will hold talks with the NSA, after which we will provide feedback. For aquatic sports, we know there is a country that is going to send a protest, but we will talk with the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (ASUM) on the matter.

“This is because it involves changes in the last minute which also affect the preparation of existing athletes,” he said after chairing the OCM Executive Board meeting here today.

Mohamad Norza said apart from aquatic, three other sports would also be replaced – namely e-sports, polo and kayak.

He said based on a letter from the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), the e-sport event Hearthstone would replace the NBA 2K19, followed by the B4-7 Division polo event replacing B4-6 goals.

The Men’s kayak 1,000m single will also be replaced by canoe 1,000m single.

For the record, two national swimmers Kevin Yeap Soon Choy and Heidi Gan contributed Malaysia’s fifth and sixth gold medals in the men’s and women’s 10km category respectively at the SEA Games 2017.

Malaysia stands to lose a possible 70 gold medals, which is half of the gold medal haul in the SEA Games 2017, as some of the country’s strong events would not be contested in the biennial Games in the Philippines.

The SEA Games 2019 will be held Nov 30 till Dec 11.

– Bernama