Zii Jia, Kisona sparkle as Malaysia win 11 golds

Last update: 10/12/2019

From Mazani Mohd Yusoff

MANILA, Dec 9 -- Lee Zii Jia and S. Kisona’s success in ending Malaysia’s 46-year wait for a sweep of the singles in badminton capped a glorious outing by the national contingent on the ninth day of competition at the 30th SEA Games here today.

The duo helped Malaysia garner their best ever single-day haul of 11 golds, five silvers and two bronzes to boost their medal count to 51-52-67 and move one rung up to fifth spot in the medal tally.

 Zii Jia beat Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew 21-18, 21-18 in the men’s singles while the unheralded Kisona defeated Indonesia’s Ruselli Hartawan 20-22, 21-14, 21-13 in the women’s singles final at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex here.

The last time Malaysia won both singles titles was in 1973, when it was known as the Southeast Asian Peninsular Games (SEAP), in Singapore. Then, Datuk Punch Gunalan won the men’s singles while Sylvia Ng triumphed in women’s singles.

The badminton team contributed a third gold today through men’s doubles pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, who beat Thailand’s Bodin Isara-Maneepong Jongjit 18-21, 21-15, 21-16 to end Malaysia’s 16-year gold drought in the event. Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah were the last Malaysian winners, in 2003 in Vietnam.

The other eight golds came from archery (men’s compound team), swimming (women’s 100m breaststroke), athletics (women’s high jump), esports (hearthstone), karate-do (men’s kumite below 75kg and men’s team kata) and squash (men’s and women’s teams).

Despite the gold rush today, Malaysia would not be able to achieve their target of 70 golds as tomorrow is the last day of competition before the closing ceremony on Wednesday.

Hosts the Philippines have been confirmed as the overall champions for the second time since 2005 with a haul of 136 gold, 102 silver and 106 bronze medals while Thailand jumped two spots to second place behind the Philippines with 84-90-102.

Vietnam dropped one place to third with 79 golds, 78 silvers and 93 bronzes.

Malaysia will wind up their medal hunt on the final day tomorrow in several sports, including indoor hockey, athletics, jujitsu, kickboxing, sepak takraw and esports.