KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 – Thailand took aim at table-topping Malaysia for stacking the sports programme in their favour as they conceded defeat in the Southeast Asian Games medals race. Thailand dominated the last edition of the 11-nation competition in 2015, when they claimed 95 gold medals to finish clear of hosts Singapore on 84.
But with the Games closing on Wednesday, Thailand are fourth on the current table with 44 gold medals, well behind home country Malaysia on 83. “We have missed several gold medals and our situation does not look good,” said Thailand’s delegation chief Thana Chaiprasit, according to the Bangkok Post.
“I think we will get around 80 gold medals which would be about 20% below our target of 109 golds.” One distinctive feature of the Games, which started as the South East Asian Peninsula Games in 1959, is the policy of revamping the sporting programme each time. It means host nations traditionally do well, finishing top of the medals table in six of the last 10 SEA Games, which take place every two years.
But Thana complained that Malaysia’s decision to drop women’s boxing, and include sports such as squash and figure skating, had hit Thailand hard. “They organise sports they are good at and do not organise sports other countries are good at,” he said. “When we return home, we have to look at our mistakes and solve problems seriously,” added Thana. — AFP