Congratulations to the Malaysian contingent, athletes, officials, the Olympic Council of Malaysia and the National Sports Council for exceeding expectation in scooping 12 gold medals in the just concluded 19th Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
In a nutshell:
Malaysian won 12 gold from seven disciplines - weightlifting (two), shooting (two), badminton (four), rhythmic gymnastics (one), diving (one), cycling (track) (one), squash (one).
In 1998, the 10 gold medals came from badminton (three), weightlifting (one), shooting (one), athletics (one), tenpin bowling (two), boxing (one) and rhythmic gymnastics (one).
In Manchester 2002, the seven gold medals were produced by weightlifting (three), badminton (three) and lawn bowls.
In Melbourne 2006, badminton (four), lawn bowl (one), weightlifting (one) contributed to the medal tally.
Pandelela Rinong, for winning the country's first ever gold in diving, overshadowing media darling Leong Mun Yee
Arrico Jumitih, for bettering fellow Sabahan Matin Guntali's silver medal feat in 1994 and bronze in 1998 and 2006
Amirul Hamizan Ibrahim, for redeeming his pride after years in the wilderness
Josiah Ng, for finally winning a gold medal, albeit by default, a thoroughly deserved reward for creating the buzz in track cycling
Nicol Ann David, for completing her remarkable career with a gold in the Games
Bibiana Ng, for rediscovering her form after a doping offence
Nor Suryani Taibi and Nor Ayuni Halim
NSC, OCM for not providing the contingent the normal baju melayu during the opening ceremony march past
Arrico Jumitih, for wearing Sabah colours during his golden feat
Lawn bowls, for failing to meet the target of four gold, time for Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid to conduct a post-mortem
Road cycling team
Little known facts:
1. Weightlifting, diving and artistic gymnastics were barely represented in the SEA Games but things changed when Jaya'98 programme was launched in 1993 with NSC on the driving seat. As a result, greater emphasis was given in the ISSF shooting events for women, as opposed to previous practice when the contingent were reliant on the skeet and trap team and men's pistol team. In the 1994 Games in Victoria, the cycling team were represented by road riders. Strategic thinking was required while MNCF were embroiled in internal strife, with track considered as medal producers.
2. The decision to utilise naturalised Malaysians was crucial to create immediate impact as a short-term measure, with Irina Maharani, Hidayat Hamidon and Yuan Yufang instrumental in helping their respective disciplines make the quantum leap.
But hold your horses...we should not go overboard in jumping for joy. The Guangzhou Asian Games is just around the corner. The same athletes being put on the pedestal now would be facing world-class opponents in China...