MANILA: Malaysia recorded their best performance so far with an eight-gold haul at the 30th SEA Games Saturday but will be hard-pressed to achieve their target of 70 gold medals.
They also won eight silver and 13 bronze medals on the seventh day of competition.
The rhythmic gymnastics squad were the toast of the contingent by contributing four golds, followed by diving with two golds while taekwondo and karate-do had one each.
Despite the golden harvest, Malaysia dropped one rung to sixth in the medal tally with a total of 36 gold, 28 silver and 42 bronze medals, well short of their target of 70 golds with just three days of competition left.
Hosts the Philippines are almost certain of emerging overall champions for the second time since the 2005 edition with a collection of 89 gold, 67 silver and 65 bronze medals, while Indonesia are second with 50-49-58 and Vietnam remaining in third spot with a count of 45-50-64.
Malaysia were in a class of their own in rhythmic gymnastics as Izzah Amzan reigned supreme in the ball event, Izzah and Koi Sie Yan were declared joint winners in ribbon and the Malaysian team won gold in the group all-around event at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
Rhythmic gymnastics was marred by controversy as Malaysian Gymnastics Federation president Rachel Lau cried foul over the judging and would file an official protest to the International Gymnastics Federation.
At the New Clark City Aquatics Center, national divers won two golds, in the men’s 3-metre individual springboard and women’s 3-metre synchronised springboard.
The other two golds came from poomsae mixed pair in taekwondo and men’s 55kg kumite in karate-do.
Young athlete Andre Anura Anuar cracked the 12-year-old national men’s long jump record when he cleared 8.02m to win silver at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium.
The old record of 7.88m was set by Josbert Tinus at the Thailand Open in 2007.
The Malaysian contingent will continue their hunt for gold in several events on day eight tomorrow, including in swimming, athletics and tenpin bowling. – Bernama