S'pore a 'very generous host'

S'pore a 'very generous host'
OCM chief Sieh Kok Chi called Singapore hospitable for including sports in which they traditionally had not done well.

Singapore may have won a record 84 golds in last month's SEA Games to finish second in the medal table among 11 nations. But secretary-general of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) Sieh Kok Chi said that the hosts were "very generous" in giving away golds.

However, as his country prepare to host the next edition of the biennial Games in 2017, he said Malaysia will not be as hospitable as Singapore - who were pipped to overall top spot by Thailand's 95 golds.

"We will not be giving out free golds, and of course (we will) focus on sports which we are strong in," said Sieh of the Malaysia Games, which will be held in Selangor, Sabah and Sarawak.

He told The Straits Times: "It is funny how Singapore included sports like traditional boat race (dragon boat), where Singapore won no golds at all."

Thailand captured five out of the eight golds in the sport. Indonesia took two and Myanmar one.

"We intend to completely remove or cut down on the number of disciplines in rowing, canoeing and traditional boat race, since there have been no substantial records of success in Malaysia.

"We will also learn from Singapore. For example, for sports such as volleyball, we will only have one discipline and not include beach volleyball.

"But, of course, we will definitely try and make everyone happy and of course - not be unsporting in any aspect."

Such a move will be necessary if Malaysia are to attain their goal of topping the table, which they last did as hosts in 2001 with 111 golds.

Malaysia's chef de mission Norza Zakaria had told The Straits Times during the Games: "In 2017, we are aiming to be the champion in the medal table."

With the final list of sports still under review, Malaysia's performance for each sport is still under technical evaluation.

The final list will be known only in September or October.

Early indicators point to the fact that Malaysia intend to reduce the number of sailing events the next time round. The Singapore Games featured 20 events, with the hosts topping the sailing medal tally with 10 golds.

However, there will be little change to the programme for the mainstays such as athletics and swimming, which are compulsory sports.

Sieh said: "It is not easy for one country to monopolise, considering the number of events.

"We will of course have all the Olympic disciplines for aquatics, such as water polo, synchronised swimming and diving."

He added that the total number of sports for 2017 will be around the same as the Singapore Games, which stood at 36, with 402 golds at stake.

He said: "It is important for Malaysia to do well - just like how Singapore did.

"When the host nation does well, the atmosphere will be great.

"Singaporeans rose to the occasion and cheered the athletes on when they performed well. We need to do well to promote sports - one of the goals of the Games - and give everyone a chance to shine in their respective sports."

This article was first published on July 02, 2015.
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