Malaysia reigns supreme at SEA Games with 145 gold medals

Fireworks explode during the closing ceremony for the 29th Southeast Asian Games at Bukit Jalil stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 31 August 2017
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Malaysia reigns supreme at SEA Games with 145 gold medals

KUALA LUMPUR: Host Malaysia has won 145 gold medals at the Southeast Asian Games to emerge as overall champion for the first time in 16 years, making it a double celebration in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of its independence from British rule.
The medal bounty exceeded Malaysia’s record of 111 golds in the 2001 games that it last hosted, and comes as a bonus ahead of its Independence Day celebration on Thursday.
Thailand, which was champion in four of the last five games, had 72 gold medals.
Vietnam had 58, Singapore 57, Indonesia 38, Philippines 24, Myanmar 7, Cambodia 3 and Laos 2. The sultanate of Brunei and new state Timor Leste (East Timor) failed to win any gold in the region’s largest multi-sports event that ended with a closing ceremony Wednesday.
The biennial Games, which started in 1959, covers a wide range of sports, many that are on the Olympic program. It also includes sports distinct to the region such as the pencak silat martial art, sepak takraw that is played with a rattan ball, and Thai kickboxing muay thai.
Malaysia’s medal haul was a big jump from the 62 golds they won at the 2015 games in Singapore, but it is not surprising as host countries can tailor the program to match their strength. In 2007, Thailand took 183 out of 477 on home soil while host Indonesia finished with 182 out of 554 in 2011.
The next SEA Games will be contested in the Philippines in 2019.
Malaysia’s organization and some games results attracted controversy.
Indonesia accused Malaysia of cheating in the pencak silat competition after two Malaysians won gold in the men’s artistic doubles. Indonesia team manager Edhy Prabowo alleged that the duo, who had lost many times to Indonesia, were awarded an unfairly high score.
The allegation came after a gaffe by Malaysia in printing the Indonesian flag upside down in a souvenir guidebook for the games. The error made the red-and-white Indonesian flag resemble Poland’s and caused anger in Indonesia, where “shameonyoumalaysia” became the most popular hashtag on Twitter.
Malaysia was quick to apologize for the “unintentional” mistake and said it would reprint the guide books.
In athletics, a Malaysian woman was criticized after she overtook a Vietnamese competitor to win the gold medal in a women’s walk event by apparently running in the final stretch to the finish line. Officials also complained that games venue and timing were changed at the last minute.


Bert van Marwijk confirmed as new UAE boss

Updated 20 March 2019
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Bert van Marwijk confirmed as new UAE boss

  • Former Saudi Arabia coach given task of guiding the UAE to their first World Cup since 1990.
  • To be presented to the fans just before the UAE take on the Green Falcons on Thursday.

LONDON: The UAE FA has confirmed that Bert van Marwijk is to be the national side’s new coach.
The former Saudi Arabia manager arrived in Dubai on Wednesday to thrash out terms and has agreed to a deal that sees him potentially stay in the dugout through to the 2023 Asian Cup.
The Dutchman becomes the new UAE coach with the national side in a state of flux. The much-heralded “Golden Generation” failed to qualify for last year’s World Cup and underwhelmed on their way to the Asian Cup semifinals on home soil in January.
He replaces Alberto Zaccheroni whose defensive tactics both failed to find success and inspire the fans. The Italian left the job after the last-four exit at the Asian Cup.
Thanks to his track record with Saudi Arabia Van Marwijk was reportedly the UAE’s first choice to take the side into World Cup qualifying, which starts in September — his first task being to get the Whites to their first World Cup since 1990.
The 66-year-old guided the Green Falcons to the Russian World Cup — the Saudis’ first appearance at the showpiece for 12 years — during a two-year stint which ended in September 2017 after contractual negotiations broke down.
The UAE face his former side in a friendly on Thursday, with a friendly against Syria set for next Tuesday. Van Marwijk will be in the stands for those matches with interim boss Saleem Abdelrahman in charge of the players on the pitch.
The Dutchman will be presented to the public and media shortly before Thursday’s friendly against the Green Falcons.