PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Contingent was capable of delivering more than the seven gold medals it won in the 2018 Asian Games Jakarta-Palembang, which came to a close yesterday, according to Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.
"When I took up the office, I was told the minimum target is seven. However, for me personally, I don't take minimum.
"I do not look at the lowest effort even though we achieved the target … Malaysia is not a nation of minimum," he said when asked to comment on the achievements of athletes at a media conference on the Sayangi Malaysianku concert and festival organised jointly by Malaysia Stadium Corporation and National Academy of Arts Culture and Heritage (Aswara) at the Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) lobby, here today.
The Sayangi Malaysiaku concert and festival will be held from Sept 14 to 17 to highlight the 2018 Malaysia Day celebration.
If seen from the current performance of athletes, Syed Saddiq said the national contingent could have collected many more gold medals.
"Actually we could have achieved 11 gold medals but we only delivered seven. From the total, many of the gold medals are not Olympic events.
"I have told my ministry officers before that we cannot easily wash our hands by blaming the athletes, that's wrong. We should not blame the athletes but it needs a greater task from the ministry and the national sports associations (NSAs). Athletes have already sacrificed their time and sweat," he said.
In this regard, Syed Saddiq will be asking the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to provide a complete report on the performance of shuttlers at the Asian Games.
"They (BAM) received quite a sum of allocation as well as the highest sponsorship but there were no medals this time. The sport also is among our hopes to win the country's first gold medal in the Olympics," he said.
According to Syed Saddiq, the ministry will hold a comprehensive post-mortem including the Podium Programme soon, so that KBS could ensure sports development in Malaysia will be more specialised and targeted.