SEA GAMES: MALAYSIA AHEAD WITH 24 GOLD TO CONTINUE DOMINATING 29TH GAMES

KUALA LUMPUR,– Malaysia were in cracking form on Day 2 of competition in the 29th SEA Games scooping eight gold with recurve archers claiming a double in the men’s and women’s team contest and Games rookie Yeap Wai Kin claiming a second gold in wushu to push up the home haul to 24 gold, 19 silver and 14 bronze at the top of the table.

Swimmer Welson Sim was among the local heroes with a powerful opening at the National Aquatic Centre, shaving three seconds off his own Games mark in defending the 400m freestyle in 3:50.26s for Malaysia’s solitary title tonight as five records tumbled in six races.

Malaysia capped the day with the national football team storming into the semifinals with a convincing 3-1 win over Myanmar in Group A. The visitors who have not been beaten until tonight have nine points from four matches while Malaysia, unbeaten in three, look set to top the group with a last match against Laos on Wednesday.

The fighting spirit displayed by the homesters tasked with a 111-gold target sets the stage for tomorrow’s exciting scramble for a chunk of 45 gold as the athletics programme opens at the National Stadium with eight and six each in swimming and wushu.

Singapore are in second place overall with 13 gold, snatching three from swimming with Rio Olympic gold medallist Joseph Schooling breaking his own 50m butterfly record in 23.06s.

In a close fight behind are Vietnam with eight, Indonesia seven and 2015 overall champions Thailand six. The Philippines and Myanmar have three while Laos, Brunei, Cambodia and Timor-Leste have yet to gain gold.

In a drama-filled day which saw a photo finish in the gruelling men’s cycling criterium road race defended by Malaysia’s Mohd Harrif Salleh, the start of squash competition was delayed to evening following an accident involving two team buses carrying athletes from Thailand, the Philippines and Myanmar.

Some of the players have received medical attention and Games organiser, MASOC said two Myanmar players have withdrawn from the first round matches when the competition was rescheduled to this evening.

After failing to nail a gold in the individual shoot yesterday, national recurve archers were on target with the trio of Haziq Kamaruddin, Khairul Anuar Mohamad and Muhammad Akmal Nor Hasrin outclassing Thailand 5-1 to defend the men’s title gold.

The women’s team title was won by Nur Afisa Abdul Halil, Nur Aliya Ghapar and Nuramalia Haneesa Mazlan with a similar margin over Indonesia.

The three other gold were from the bowling men’s doubles, men’s double trap shooting and the women’s artistic gymnastics team.

In a dramatic sprint to the finish, Mohd Harrif Salleh with support of his elder brother Mohd Zamri, defended the men’s criterium event by half a wheel with the brothers taking gold and bronze in the tactical road race in a photo finish with Thai rider Thanawut Sanikwathi all on a time of 59:35s.

Malaysia celebrated a 1-2 finish in men’s doubles bowling with Alex Liew and Muhamad Syafiq Ridhwan Abdul Malek knocking down 2,647 pins to grab the gold to outshine silver-placed teammates Muhammad Rafiq Ismail and Adrian Ang who struck the singles gold and silver Sunday.

But the national women’s team yet again did not deliver and lost in the defence of the doubles gold and were out of the top three. Shalin Zulkili and Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman were fourth while in a disapponting sixth were Esther Cheah and Sin Li Jane who won the gold in Singapore.

In wushu, debutant Yeap Wai Kin continued a golden run nabbing his second gold despite an injured right shoulder. Yet again, he outpointed teammate Wong Weng Son in men’s qiangshu (spear) after his winning start in jianshu (sword). Malaysia picked up a bronze in the women’s qiangshu through Phoon Eyin.

At the National Shooting Range in Subang, Benjamin Khor blasted open the shooting competition with a gold for Malaysia in the men’s double trap scoring 71 with the silver going to compatriot Abraham Eng with 66 and Thailand’s Temmart Sirawait settling for the bronze with 44. The event was last held in 2007.

In artistic gymnastics, the national women’s squad left Singapore and Indonesia behind to pack away the first gold medal in the team contest and whet their appetite for the individual apparatus competition starting tomorrow.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK