Thirty-four more gold medals than what was targeted and the best result in the SEA Games’ history.
Malaysian athletes fought with grit to the very end to wrap up their best ever SEA Games to emerge overall champions and present a euphoric gift of 145 gold medals to the nation which celebrates its 60th anniversary tomorrow.
In the final push today, Malaysia whacked five of the last seven gold at stake, packing two more from diving as expected and another three from the ice skating team to bring the curtains down on 12 days of competition.
This is the second time Malaysia has topped the Games after their first in 2001 when they won 111 gold also on home soil. Setting a similar target this time and to their utter delight, the national athletes responded with such fighting spirit and comradeship to surpass the mark.
Taking the top spot on the medals board with 145 gold, 92 silver and 86 bronze, the hosts tower over Thailand who are going home with 72 gold, including the prized men’s football title for the third time in a row, a sharp drop from their 95-gold domination of the Singapore Games two years ago.
Vietnam finished third by a whisker with 58 gold, just one ahead of Singapore followed by Indonesia 38, the Philippines 24, Myanmar seven, Cambodia three and Laos two. Rounding up the 11 participating nations are Brunei who have five silver and eight bronze and Timor Leste with three bronze.
The next Games will be hosted by the Philippines.