Mission 2017: Regain SEA Games overall title

NAYPYITAW - Malaysia will be out to regain the overall title when they host the SEA Games in 2017.

But the National Sports Council (NSC) and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin have promised not to introduce obscure sports or increase the number of events in sports dominated by Malaysia.

However, based on the outcome at the Myanmar SEA Games, it will be tough for Malaysia to challenge Thailand or Indonesia for the overall crown.

Both Thailand and Indonesia showed here that they are better in the Olympic sports. Even Vietnam are going to be a huge threat.

In Myanmar, Malaysia finished fifth overall with a haul of 43-38-77 behind Thailand (107-94-81), Myanmar (86-62-85), Vietnam (73-86-86) and Indonesia (65-84-111).

Myanmar made a big leap - thanks to their prowess in some of the subjective sports - martial arts - and obscure events like kempo and vovinam.

In 2017, Malaysia's true challengers are Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Thailand continued to show that they are way ahead of the rest in athletics. Once again, the Thais flexed their muscles in weightlifting.

They have also shown great progress in badminton and swimming - once dominated by Indonesia and Singapore respectively.

In Myanmar, Thailand underlined their depth and versatility by winning a medal in all the sports they competed in.

Indonesia showed their revival in badminton by reaching all the five finals. They eventually won three and continued to power their way to success in athletics, cycling, rowing and swimming.

Vietnam won at least five golds or more in swimming, athletics, shooting and taekwondo - showing that they are also making steady progress in Olympic sports.

Except for diving, Malaysia struggled to hit it big time in some of the Olympic sports although some of their young athletes showed plenty of promise.

Malaysia will either have to re-strategise or revamp their training programmes or expose their young talents if they harbour hopes to catch up and overtake Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam in four years' time.

For the record, Malaysia last won the overall title at the 2001 Games in Kuala Lumpur. Then, they won 111 gold medals.