SEA Games starting on August 19

SEA Games starting on August 19”

Putra Jaya: Malaysia is targeting to be overall champions at the 29th SEA Games and 9th Asean Para Games, with the respective targets of 111 and 103 gold medals.

The 22-year-old has already clarified that his comments about going to "Malaysia's backyard" during this month's SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur and "teaching them a thing or two" had been taken out of context.

"My target now is to go for the fourth gold medal consecutively in this championship", he told Bernama recently.

"It is a realistic target, one which we can achieve".

Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chair William "Butch" Ramirez, who represented the President, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president, Jose "Peping" Cojuangco and Philippine delegation chef-de-mission Cynthia Carreon led the sending off ceremonies of the SEA Games-bound athletes in Pasay City. That will put unnecessary pressure on the athletes.

Najib had the athletes, who were gathered for the flag handing over ceremony here yesterday, on their feet when he gave a rousing speech - saying 30 million Malaysians will be behind them all the way. The last was in 2001 when the country emerged as the overall champions with 111 gold medals.

"All of you have prepared for this moment and made sacrifices along the way".

Expressing confidence that success was attainable, Najib said that he and all Malaysians were behind the national athletes but despite all the cheering and clapping, in the end it would be the athletes themselves who would determine the colour of the medals.

"We have improved on the existing facilities and they are now of world-class standards".

He reminded the athletes that the SEA Games held a special place in his heart. "The other reason is that people will start analysing and criticising sports associations which do not meet their targets in the Games", said Khairy.

Three reigning world champions - track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang, woman diver Cheong Jun Hoong and silat exponent Mohd Al-Jufferi Jamari - will be the Malaysian flag bearers for the SEA Games.

The Jalur Gemilang for the Malaysian Asean Para Games contingent was handed over to contingent chief Datuk R. Subramaniam.

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