Thursday December 9, 2010
Malaysia will find the going tough to retain overall title
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian contingent for the Asean University Games have a considerable number of national athletes but they will find the going tough to retain the overall title.
Malaysia will be represented by 233 athletes in the biennial Games, which will be held in Chiang Mai from Dec 15-22.
And they will be involved in 15 of the 16 sports in the programme – athletics, badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, football, futsal, golf, karate, sepaktakraw, swimming, taekwondo, table tennis, bowling, volleyball and silat.
The only sport where Malaysia will not have an interest in is tennis.
But a different environment and the fact that the majority of the country’s top athletes have just completed back-to-back assignments at the Commonwealth Games and Asiad are factors that have to be taken into account.
Altogether, 44 undergraduates who are also national athletes will be involved in the campaign this time.
Among the familiar names are swimmers Daniel Bego (pic) and Khoo Cai Lin, shuttler Julia Wong, pole vaulter Roslinda Samsu, sprinter Siti Zubaidah Adabi, beach volleyball player Beh Shun Ting, bowler Mohd Syafiq Ridhwan and karate exponent L. Kunasilan.
Malaysia hosted the last Games in 2008 and emerged as the overall champions for the first time with a medal haul of 90-78-47.
Swimming not just contributed 32 gold medals but also led with the highest number of records broken. But team manager Rodzuan Yahya said that they were sending a smaller squad, comprising six male and six female swimmers.
Besides Daniel and Cai Lin, the others expected to help deliver the gold medals are the likes of Chui Lai Kwan, Leung Chii Lin, Marellyn Liew, Yap See Tuan, Melvin Chua and Yap See Tuan.
“All of them have won medals at the SEA Games level and they should be our main medal hopes,” said Rodzuan.
“But we are not putting too much pressure as the majority of the athletes are tired after finishing the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
“The weather conditions are also different as it is about 20°C in Chiang Mai now. We have to take all these into account and we are maybe looking at winning at least 12 gold medals.”
Main medal hopes will also be pinned on other sports like athletics, bowling, beach volleyball, sepaktakraw, silat, futsal, table tennis and karate.
The shuttlers and footballers will be the first from the Malaysian contingent to leave for the Games on Dec 12 followed by the rest of the contingent three days later.