Malaysia wrested the last gold medal of the 9th ASEAN Para Games away from Thailand with a score of 9-5 in the men’s team goalball at the Malaysian International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) on Saturday.
With a final haul of 90 gold medals, 85 silver and 84 bronze host Malaysia sits in second place on the medal tally after champions Indonesia (126-75-50) and Thailand third (68-73-94). Malaysia’s target fell short by 13 gold medals of the 103 prediction before the Games.
Of the 258 medals won by Malaysian athletes, athletics contributed the bulk of it with 93 followed by cycling (39) and swimming (36). The three medal-winning Paralympians in the team – Ridzuan Puzi, Abdul Latiff Romly and Ziyad Zulkifli – lived up to the nation’s expectations in spite of being hampered by illness. Ridzuan gave 100 per cent in the men’s 200m T36 event (a miss in the 100m T36 due to a fever but recovered in time to win the 200m T36) and Abdul Latif Romly’s 7.41m winning leap in the men’s long jump T20 was just 0.02m shy of his record (7.43m) set in 2015 in Singapore. Ziyad, who set the World Para Athletics 2017 world record of 17.29m in July in London and followed up with a bronze medal in the 29th SEA Games in August in Kuala Lumpur, won the shot putt gold by hurling the iron ball a distance of 16.81m in the F20 final.
Top scorers with three gold medals each are Hemala Devi (women’s discuss F12, shot putt F11/12 and javelin F12) and S.Thavaneswaran who won the men’s 400m F44, 100m and 200m F42/43/44 and followed up with silver in 4x100m team relay. Malaysia’s other top performers were cyclists Nur Azlia Syafinaz (four gold medals, one silver), Mohd Najib (four gold) and Muhd Hairul (four gold) in tenpin bowling.
Thailand’s collection of 68 gold medals, 73 silver and 95 bronze mostly came from their athletics team who contributed 90 medals (including sliver and bronze) while the swimmers pulled in 40. However, teamwork seems to be their forte as Thailand won the women’s team goalball and the men’s football 5-aside titles. They also won gold in the men’s doubles wheelchair tennis in addition to three gold medals in the boccia mixed pairs and mixed team events. Thailand’s complete domination of wheelchair basketball was evident in their no-loss record throughout the competition. They defeated Malaysia 12-5 in the men’s 3-on-3 final and then 70-56 in the men’s team 5-on-5 final to take home two gold medals.
Indonesia ruled overall with 126 gold, 75 silver and 50 bronze for a total of 251 medals, with 85 (40-28-17) from athletics. However, it was the swimmers who ruled throughout, clocking an impressive 15 records of the 39 gold medals won. The top achievers are Guntur and Muhd Bejita who won five gold medals each. The Indonesians also took 14 of the 24 gold medals awarded in chess, and seven powerlifting gold.
The 2017 ASEAN Para Games, which came to an end on Saturday night (Sept 23), featured 16 sports and 368 events. The next Para Games will be held in the Philippines in 2019.