Will no-gold medal target work in Hangzhou?

LETTERS: It is a mystery why we are not setting a gold medal target for the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, from Sept 23 to Oct 8.

This can only be answered by Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh, Games chef de mission Datuk Chong Kim Fatt and the Olympic Council of Malaysia.

The only thing sports enthusiasts know is that Malaysia's contingent of 289 athletes will participate in 22 of the 40 sports.

For the 2023 Cambodia Sea Games, our target was 40 gold, but we ended up with 34 gold, 45 silver and 96 bronze medals.

The failure to achieve the gold medal target saw the press and sports fans having a field day on social media, blasting the athletes, sports bodies and the ministry.

At the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, Malaysia had sent 417 athletes, but secured only seven gold, 13 silver and 16 bronze.

Perhaps that is why our sports administrators have become more cautious, focusing on quality rather than quantity.

Or are they more worried about the brickbats from journalists?

Whether it's the Hangzhou Games or 2024 Paris Olympics, how do our coaches, sports administrators and sports psychologists in the Road To Gold programme set realistic goals and targets for athletes?

Are we not compromising on our athletes' performance with this mindset, rather than challenging the odds?

In Hangzhou, we are banking on diving, badminton, track cycling, equestrian, hockey, karate, sepak takraw, squash, wushu and e-sports to deliver a total medal target of 27.

Still, there's a perception of our athletes lacking mental and physical strength.

I hope that even though sports administrators are being cautious about the medal target, the athletes will go all out till the final whistle.


Seremban, Negri Sembilan

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

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