Haiqal's sprint crown lifts gloom in Malaysian camp

Last update: 09/12/2019

MANILA, Dec 9 -- National sprinter Muhammad Haiqal Hanafi’s superb race to defend Malaysia’s SEA Games 100 metres gold brought much needed cheer to an otherwise mediocre showing by the national contingent on the eighth day of competition here Sunday.

The Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School student, was in fact, a last minute call up for the games but surprised even the Malaysian camp with a perfect run to be crowned South East Asia’s Sprint King and defend the gold won by team mate Khairul Hafiz Jantan on home soil in 2017.

Besides Muhammad Haiqal, the national contingent only managed to secure another four gold today, one each through high-jumper Lee Hup Wei, Mohammad Rifdean Masdor (Muay Thai men’s 45 kg), P. Madhuri (karate-kumite women 55kg) and Grace Wong in the women’s skateboarding 'downhill' event. 

Malaysian athletes also added 12 silver and 10 bronze today, but still found themselves stuck at sixth place of the overall medal standings with 41 gold, 42 silver and 62 bronze, and with just two days of competition left, the task of achieving the 70 gold medal target now seems like an uphill task. 

Host nation the Philippines has been confirmed overall champions for the second time in the history of the games by amassing 112 emas, 86 perak dan 87 bronze, followed by Indonesia (65-62-79), while Vietnam remained third with 65 gold, 59 silver and 78 bronze.

Malaysia will continue their hunt for gold on the penultimate and ninth day of competition in several events, among them swimming, archery, athletics and mixed polo.