HANOI: Athletics saved the day for the national contingent’s gold medal hunt on the seventh day of the 31st SEA Games, after several events failed in delivering the gold medals as expected, leading to Malaysia's drop to fourth in the overall standings.
National hammer throwers Jackie Wong Siew Cheer(pix) and Grace Wong Xiu Mei both performed well to contribute to Malaysia's 12th and 13th gold medals in the men's and women's categories respectively.
Meanwhile, the national camp breathed a sigh of relief when Iskandar Alwi clinched the bronze medal in the pole vault event on the first day of the athletics events - his fourth in consecutive SEA Games - after other potential medal winners failed to deliver.
At the Hanoi Sports Training and Competition Centre, the national bodybuilding squad was in sterling form, winning two silver medals through Buda Anchah and Zmarul Adam Pulutan Abdullah, while Zainal Arif Zainal Ariffin and Muhammad Uzair Mat Noor each contributed a bronze.
Another bronze was added to Malaysia's medal haul today through national fencer Joshua Koh I-Jie in the men's individual epee event.
Wushu, however, only managed a bronze through Sydney Chin Sy Xuan in the women's Tajiquan event, the only medal won today after the surprise double gold medal win yesterday.
Also, Muhammad Khairi Adib Azhar has assured a silver medal at the least from silat when he advanced to the finals of the men's B class (50-55 kg) event.
The squad will have the opportunity to add several silver medals to their collection with seven exponents featuring in various semi-finals tomorrow.
The finals will take place on Monday. The losers of the semi-finals will automatically win bronze medals.
After today’s haul of two gold, two silver and five bronze, the Malaysian contingent has dropped from second to fourth place in the overall medal tally, with a total of 13 gold, seven silver and 21 bronze.
Hosts Vietnam, who shot to the top of the standings on Wednesday (May 11), remain first overall with 36 gold, 28 silver and 27 bronze, leaving Thailand in second place with 14 gold, 13 silver and 30 bronze.
Indonesia, meanwhile, is in third place after accumulating 13 gold, 14 silver and six bronze medals.
Tomorrow, the national contingent will be focused on bodybuilding, where four-time world champion, Mohd Syarul Azman Mahen Abdullah, or better known by his moniker 'Mike' is scheduled to take part in the Athletics Physique event and stands a good chance of winning a gold for Malaysia.
Another potential gold medal could come when the men’s table tennis squad take on Thailand in the finals of the team event.
National shot putter Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli will also take to the field tomorrow, and the Paralympic athlete will definitely make the most of competing in the normal category in Hanoi.
Two other 2020 Tokyo Olympians, namely Khairul Anuar Mohamad and Syaqiera Mashayikh will take their shots at glory as the archery competition begins today.-Bernama