KUCHING: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has described the 18th edition of the Malaysia Games (Sukma) hosted by Sarawak as the most glamorous and best Sukma so far.
He said the event also played a meaningful role in enhancing unity and solidarity among Malaysians of various races. According to him, apart from that the event also saw a number of new records created.
He was speaking at the closing of the games last night which was marked by the lowering of the Sukma flag. He noted that the organisation of Sukma XVIII went on smoothly without any major hiccups.
“I congratulate the 8,000 participants and officials representing 15 contingents for a job well done. Obviously from the opening ceremony to the closing, this is the best Sukma as a platform to enhance Malaysian unity,” he said.
Zaid also said athlete development should not be seasonal but must be continuous and involve long term and systematic planning and training.
“I do not want the venues that we have developed to be underutilised. The Ministry of Youth and Sports must ensure that sports events are held in these facilities to produce athletes of calibre and of international standard.”
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem handed over the Sukma flag to Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, as the state would be hosting the 19th edition of the games in 2018.
There was fireworks display apart from performance by top local artistes.
People started to flock to the Sarawak Stadium as early as 5pm to collect their tickets with lucky draw numbers.
The colourful and dazzling ceremony was attended by about 8,000 athletes and officials from 15 contingents including Brunei, which also show a cultural performance by a troupe from Perak.
Selangor emerged as overall champion of Sukma XVIII, its ninth overall championship title since 1998.
The state grabbed 215 medals – 59 gold, 73 silver and 63 bronze.
Sarawak which ended the games in second place secured 159 medals – 57 gold, 43 silver and 59 bronze and third-placed Terengganu won 133 medals (47, 42 and 44).
Sprinter Khairul Hafiz Jantan from Malacca and Nur Aqilah Yusof from Terengganu were named Best Male Athlete and Best Female Athlete respectively, with each receiving trophies and cash prize of RM5,000.
The 18-year-old runner set a new national record for 100m and broke four Sukma records. He sliced off a good 0.12 seconds from the 10.30s record set by Sarawak’s Watson Nyambek to create a new national record of 10.18s, besides breaking the games records for 200m, 4x100m and 4x400m events.
Meanwhile, Nur Aqilah who clinched three gold and two bronze medals in this Sukma also rewrote the national record of 328 points set by Mon Redee Sutxi in the women’s 70m recurve at the SEA Games in Vietnam in 2003 with 331 points, which was also a new Sukma record.
She also set another Sukma record in the women’s 60m recurve event.
Sarawak hosted Sukma for the second time after 26 years. The state was the overall champion in 1990, 1992 and 1994.
About, 20,000 fans and supporters thronged the stadium to watch the closing ceremony last night.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was among the many dignitaries attending the ceremony.- BP