PETALING JAYA, Aug 20 – Malaysia made a dream start to the 29th SEA Games today with a royal golden touch as the Sultan of Terengganu galloped to the first triumph of the day in the 80km equestrian race. Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin led the country to a majestic start with a double gold feat in the individual endurance event and the team endurance event. The team gold was won with Mohd Faris Syafiq and Mohammad Fuad Hashim.
Sultan Mizan, who is the first Sultan to participate in the SEA Games, credited team effort for Malaysia’s success. He is ranked fourth in the world in this discipline. “I would like to congratulate all and sundry, from the trainers, horse handlers, veterinarians, officials to the state government, for helping us achieve our target and working tirelessly for a successful race which went without any untoward incident,” Sultan Mizan said.
Wushu exponent Loh Jack Chang delivered Malaysia’s second gold in the sport on the first day of competition at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. The 30-year-old Sarawakian garnered 9.67 points to win the men’s taijijian (taiji sword) event. Indonesian Bobby Valentinus Gunawan got silver with 9.65 points, while Chan Un Kai won bronze for Singapore with 9.62.
Earlier in the day, Yeap Wai Kin got Malaysia to a winning start by taking the men’s jianshu (sword) gold. Malaysia scored a one-two finish when Yeap stunned his teammate Wong Weng Son to bag the gold. Yeap scored 9.67 points to pip favourite Wong, the world cup winner in this event, who scored 9.65 points. Singapore’s Jin Jie Fung got the bronze with 9.48 points.
The Malaysian wushu exponent drew his inspiration from Chinese film star and wushu exponent Jet Li. “Before competitions, I always watch his videos … He inspired me a lot to become a wushu athlete. My dream is to become a coach and develop wushu in Malaysia because wushu is still not popular in this country. So I hope our success can inspire a lot of people to get into wushu,” the 2011 Junior World Championship double gold winner said.
Malaysia’s golden streak continued in the pool, with Zylane Lee Yhing Huey and Gan Hua Wei putting up an amazing performance to clinch gold in the synchronised swimming competition. They amassed 76.3000 points in the duet free event at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil today.
Singapore’s Debbie Soh and Miya Yong Hsing were beaten to the gold by a mere margin of 0.0076 points. Hua Wei won the solo technical event on Thursday. Malaysia’s netball team created history by grabbing the gold medal by defeating arch rivals Singapore 65-41 at the Juara Stadium. It was sweet revenge for Malaysia, as Singapore took the gold at the 2015 SEA Games while Malaysians had to settle for silver.
The national rugby team also scored a first by winning the country’s first ever gold in the SEA Games rugby sevens competition. Malaysia, the silver medallists at the 2015 Singapore SEA Games, defeated Singapore 22-7 in the final at the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) Stadium in Kelana Jaya.