PUTRAJAYA: The national contingent needs more than seven gold medals to finish in the top 10 of the Asian Games which will take place in Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia from Aug 18-Sept 2.
Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Datuk Seri Mohamad Norza Zakaria said based on the preparations done by the athletes, the target of seven gold medals was fairly modest.
“As Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said, the contingent has the potential to win 11 gold medals.
“Let's leave it the athletes to determine (the number of gold medals), they've been working hard to compete in the Asian Games this time,” he told reporters after the handing over of the Jalur Gemilang by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to the national contingent at Dataran Perdana in Putrajaya today.
Malaysia had finished 10th in the 2010 edition of the Games in Guangzhou, China, with a medal tally of nine gold, 18 silver and 14 bronze.
Meanwhile, the country's chef-de-mission to the Games Datuk Seri Abdul Azim Mohamad Zabidi said he was confident the national contingent could achieve the gold medal target.
“The target comes from the respective sports associations itself … We at the OCM, the National Sports Council (NSC) and the National Sports Institute (NSI) conclude whether or not they can (achieve it). It's because if asked, everyone wants to win gold, (but) that may be unreasonable.
“We have looked at all the athletes, seen their performance for the last six months before setting the target. NSC and NSI have also provided the best service to our athletes,” he told reporters.
NSC director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said to finish top 10 at the Games, the national contingent would need to win between nine and 11 gold medals.
“Sometimes, to achieve a top ten finish, we need 11 gold, but on average, we have to win between nine and 11 gold … The seven gold medal-target we are confident of based on the current performance, 11 (gold) is achievable if everything goes well,” he said.
The Malaysian contingent comprises 426 athletes and 135 officers, taking part in 35 of the 40 sports being contested in the Games. — Bernama