Sunday, December 4, 2011


26th SEA Games 2011

By Datuk Sieh Kok Chi

Congratulations to the Malaysian Contingent to the 26th SEA Games for winning 59 gold medals, 50 silver medals and 81 bronze medals to finish in 4th position based on gold medal tally. All members of the Malaysian Contingent, from the Chefs de Mission, to the team officials and more important the athletes showed the true spirit of ‘Malaysia Boleh’, to overcome the challenges to achieve their target of 60 gold medals, set by the National Sports Associations (NSAs) themselves. The NSAs were very courageous and showed their confidence to set the 60 gold medal target, as failure to achieve the target would have resulted in lots of criticism and ridicule by the arm-chair critics.

The table below shows the percentage of gold medals won by the 4 leading NOCs in the four editions of the SEA Games held in Indonesia. The 1979 SEA Games was the first time Indonesia hosted the SEA Games and it was also only the second time Indonesia participated in the SEA Games. Prior to 1977, the SEA Games was known as the SEAP Games and Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and the Philippines were not members of the SEAP Games then.

In 1979, the SEA Games was still under the original Constitution of the SEAP Games, which limited the number of sports to 18 only. Not withstanding the small number of sports and events, Indonesia was very strong and easily topped the gold medal tally, winning 40.53% of the gold medals in contention. Thailand won 22.03% and Malaysia won 13.16%. Vietnam did not participate.

The 1985 SEA Games held in Bangkok was still under the original SEAP Games Constitution. Thailand organized 18 sports and finished on top of the gold medal tally. As a result, of their failure to finish on top of the gold medal tally, Indonesia, when they hosted the 1987 SEA Games managed to amend the original SEAP Constitution by removing the maximum number of sports. From that edition of the SEA Games, the flood gates were opened and it became a free for all. As such Indonesia organized 26 sports with 348 events at the 1987 SEA Games. With the drastic increase, it was the best achievement by the Indonesia, winning 53.16% of the gold medals. Malaysia’s tally was a respectable 10.34%.

In the 1997 SEA Games, Indonesia was again host and they organized 34 sports with 448 events, winning 42.41% of the gold medals. Malaysia managed to sustain its share of gold medals by winning 12.27%. 1997 was also the last year of Indonesia’s dominance of the SEA Games. Due to the Asian economic downturn, which effected Indonesia badly, the standard of their sports declined. As such, in 2011, the 26th SEA Games was an opportunity for Indonesia to re-exert their dominance. They organized a record 43 sports with 554 events, hoping that with the increase in sports and events, they will achieve exceptional results. Unfortunately, this was not to be. Although Indonesia still finished at the top, but their share of gold medals was only 32.85%, the lowest achieved in the 4 editions of the SEA Games held in Indonesia, in spite of the large number of non-traditional sports and events.

The table below shows that the standard of sports in Indonesia has dropped from the days when they always win over 40% of the gold medals. One of the reasons is the rise of Vietnam, which has increased its gold medal share from 7.81% in 1997 to 17.32% in 2011. Malaysia has been able to sustain and maintain its share of an average of 11%, while Thailand too retained its share of around 19%.

Without the inclusion of some non-traditional sports and events, Indonesia gold medal share would certainly be below 30%. In the following five sports, Indonesia won in Paragliding 11 gold medals out of 12 event, Roller Sport, 12 out of 12, Soft Tennis, 7 out of 7, Shorinji Kempo 8 out of 16 and Vovinam 5 out of 14, making a total of 43 gold medals out of 71 or 70.49%.

The lesson to be learnt from the 26th SEA Games is that to achieve and maintain good results, sports development must be carried in a systematic, long term and well planned fashion and not depend too much on the number of sports and events. Malaysia has strength in certain basic sports and events and even when Malaysia did not participate in certain sports and events, our depth and breadth in certain sports will ensure respectable results.

SEA Games held in Indonesia No. of sports No. of events % of gold medal won by the NOCs

                                                                                                     INA    THA    MAS   VIE

1979                                               16                  227              40.53    22.03 13.16   DNP

1987                                               26                  348              53.16    18.10 10.34   DNP

1997                                               34                  448              42.41   18.52 12.27    7.81

2011                                               43                  554              32.85   19.67 10.64    17.32

No comments: