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.


Francesco Molinari looking for ‘dream’ end to season in Dubai at DP World Tour Championship

Updated 15 November 2018
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Francesco Molinari looking for ‘dream’ end to season in Dubai at DP World Tour Championship

  • 2018 has been an incredible year for Molinari
  • If Molinari wins this weekend, it would make him just the third player in history to win multiple Rolex Series events

LONDON: Francesco Molinari is looking to end a fairytale season by becoming the European No. 1 at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, which starts today, and the first Italian to achieve the feat.
2018 has been an incredible year for Molinari, with a maiden Major victory in the Open Championship in July, which followed a first Rolex event victory at the BMW PGA Championship in May. He has also not missed a single cut this season, a run that extends over four years in regular European Tour events.
And in a glorious Ryder Cup for the Europeans, he became the first player from the continent to win five points out of five, while securing the winning point in his singles match against USA’s Phil Mickelson.
Speaking to journalists ahead of today’s tee-off, the Italian said: “It feels incredible, a new position for me, I’ve never been here in the past.
“I think it’s just a consequence and a sign of an incredible season. I would have never guessed that I would be here in this position if you told me in April or May this year but it’s been an incredible summer, topped by an unbelievable Ryder Cup.
“Really, it’s a dream season for me and it’s nice to be here in this position. Hopefully I’ll be able to close it out. I know it’s not going to be easy and I’m not making any assumptions but I’ll do my best on the course to do the job.
And when asked about his prospects of winning the Harry Vardon trophy this weekend, he said: “You can have the best week of your life and win one tournament but to win a competition that lasts throughout the season, with the amount of talent there is right now on the European Tour, is something really hard to do but it’s also still hard to figure out for me how I’m here in this position.”
Molinari needs to finish tied-fifth or better at the Jumeirah Golf Estates to seal the Race to Dubai crown, but Ryder Cup partner Tommy Fleetwood — the man he formed such a strong bond with in Paris — is the only man who can prevent him the perfect ending.
Victory for the Englishman on the Earth Course is the only way he can deny Molinari the title, but the Italian was full of praise for his “best friend” and would not begrudge Fleetwood if he successfully defended his Race to Dubai crown.
“I know we said this and we’re going to sound really cheesy but if I don’t win, I’d rather see him win than anyone else,” he said.
“We really are good friends and he’s had an amazing season. To think that he won last year and to come here, still with a chance to win two in a row, it’s incredible, really.
“So fair play to him. What I can say for me is that it’s been a great season and however it goes this week, I’m still going to have lots of great memories from all of what I’ve done this year, and probably the best memory is what we’ve done together with him in France.
“I can’t really be mad at him, even if he wins.”
If Molinari wins this weekend, it would make him just the third player in history to win multiple Rolex Series events and he praised the introduction of the European Tour’s prestige level of tournaments.
“There’s a few events that we target every year,” he said. “It’s great for us to have the opportunity to play in such special tournaments.
“Especially for guys like me, playing a home event in Italy that is part of the Rolex Series, just gives a completely new meaning to the Italian Open.”