From Ahmad Muliady Abdul Majid
PALEMBANG, Oct 2 (Bernama) -- Malaysia have proven to be a force to be reckoned with in the Islamic Solidarity Games (ISG) after sealing fourth in medal tally in the just concluded third ISG here.
In their greatest performance ever, Malaysia finished with 26 gold, 17 silver and 29 bronze medals behind champions Indonesia (36, 34, 34), Iran (30, 17, 12) and Egypt (26, 31, 29) in the 58-nation championship.
It surpassed their medal tally of five gold, five silver and six bronze when they finished seventh at the first ISG in Saudi Arabia in 2005.
Congratulating the national contingent, Youth and Sports Ministry secretary-general Datuk Jamil Salleh said Malaysians should feel proud of the phenomenal achievement which he attributed to earnest commitment from athletes, sports associations, the ministry, National Sports Council (NSC), Olympic Council of Malaysia and National Sports Institute.
"The strong support has enabled the NSC to make a rigorous preparation to shape up the athletes before the crunch," he told Bernama Wednesday.
He said however, a post-mortem would be carried out to study the success as well as the weaknesses to ensure that the athletes would be in top form for the Myanmar SEA Games in December.
NSC director-general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong said the Palembang ISG was one of the best exposure for the athletes before the SEA Games and he was proud of their achievement as they brought honour to the country.
He commended badminton players for outpacing Indonesian shuttlers by winning six of seven gold medals up for grab and swimmers for winning 12 gold, the highest contribution to the medal haul.
The performance of wushu exponents was beyond expectation as they lifted four gold, six silver and three bronze medals although no target set for them, he said, adding that the archers won three gold while karate, one gold, in keenly fought battles.
Zolkples said the athletes, mostly youngsters from within and outside NSC programmes, managed to overcome emotions and stress competing before fanatic local partisan supporters.
"Our athletes showed strong fighting spirit and kudos for their success," he said.