BIASED judging did not stop Malaysian athletes from bagging four gold and two silver in rhythmic gymnastics at the Philippines Sea Games yesterday.
The national squad were, however, left to rue what could have been a clean sweep of the gold medals at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
In the individual events, Izzah Amzan emerged victorious in the ball discipline with a total score of 17.800 and she later emerged joint winner in the ribbon with compatriot Koi Sie Yan as both were tied on 15.200
Izzah and Sie Yan were both awarded a gold medal each following an appeal from the Malaysian contingent.
Initially, Sie Yan was declared the winner with Izzah taking silver. But the Malaysian team appealed, on the grounds that the tournament rules clearly state that both should be awarded a gold each if their scores were the same.
With this, Malaysia got an ‘extra’ gold to add to the country’s overall medal tally. So, the ribbon individual event turned out to be ‘extra special’ for Malaysia.
In another event, the hoop, Izzah and Amy Kwan came in second (16.500) and third (15.900) behind Philippines’ Daniela Reggie Dela Pisa who won on 17.750.
Sie Yan also had to settle for silver (16.900) in the clubs behind Thailand's Limpanich Benjaporn (17.150).
Malaysia also won the group all around gold through Chan Mei Thung, Eu Jia Xin, Koh Jei Yi, Lee Xin Yao, Lim Chyi Ean and Shak Yuki who scored a 40.050 total. Thailand finished second on 39.900 while Philippines were third (29.150).
Malaysia Gymnastics Federation (MGF) president Rachel Lau claimed that Malaysia had been “targeted” due to their known superiority in the sport.
‘I am pretty pleased with the girls but the Sea Games has a lot of cheating and biased judging. We have already appealed to FIG (world body), it’s a very serious case at this point’ said Rachel.
‘We have seen a lot of unfairness, the way they judged is nonsensical.
‘We qualified first in pretty much everything yesterday (Friday) and today but we lost two gold (in hoops, clubs) which doesn't make any sense.
‘It is very clear cut that we are a league above the others. Amy Kwan, our Commonwealth Games gold medallist, was ‘attacked’ (singled out) today.’
Izzah and Sie Yan were both grateful to deliver the gold for Malaysia.
‘We all want to bring back as many gold medals as possible for Malaysia but unfortunately things can happen,’ said Izzah.
‘Gymnastics is a subjective sport, so we cannot anticipate what will happen. The most important thing is that we give it our best.
‘This is the second time I have tied a gold with a friend. It is also an extra gold for Malaysia, so it is a proud achievement,’ added Sie Yan.
Sie Yan was named joint winners in the individual all around event at the 2015 Singapore Sea Games with former teammate Shasangari Sivaneswari Nagarajan.