AN official target of 40 gold medals has been set for the national contingent heading to next month's Myanmar Sea Games.
Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who met with Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) officials and Sea Games team managers in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, said the figure was realistic, considering the various factors involved.
To date, 579 athletes from 29 sports have been confirmed to compete in the biennial event.
"Based on evaluations done by the National Sports Council, OCM and the national sports associations (NSA) involved, the target for the Sea Games this year is 40 gold medals from the 217 on offer," said Khairy.
"We have to moderate our expectations for this edition as a number of sports are not being included this year.
"In total, 28 gold medals that we have won before (in Indonesia) are not on offer at these games and had to be removed from our target."
Sports that have been earmarked to deliver gold are swimming (3), diving (8), road cycling (1), weightlifting (1), football (1), hockey (2), muay (1), karate (6), archery (3), shooting (1), athletics (5), sailing (2), silat (3) and wushu (3).
NSC previously set a target of 40 to 45 gold at the 2011 edition in Palembang and Jakarta, Indonesia.
Malaysia went on to win 59 gold, 50 silver and 82 bronze to fall just short of a separate 60-gold medal target set by the NSAs.
Events that contributed gold in Indonesia but are not part of the Myanmar edition are aquatics (8), track cycling (7), fencing (2), shooting (2), tenpin bowling (5) and water-skiing (4).
Khairy added that security in Myanmar is not a problem at the present, but it is being constantly monitored.
He also voiced his preference for athletes to travel straight to Naypyitaw by air.
"So far, our preparations for the Games are going on as usual and there have been no changes to our programme.
"We are constantly monitoring the situation in Myanmar via information from the (Myanmar) authorities and various other sources.
"If possible, I want our athletes to fly straight to Naypyitaw without having to travel by road from Yangon.
"However, that depends on the outcome of my discussion with our national carriers."
|Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin meets Olympic Council of Malaysia officials and Sea Games team managers in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Pic by Hasriyasyah Sabudin|