JOHOR BAHARU, Sept 17 (Bernama) -- Indonesian and Vietnamese silat exponents continued to rule supreme at this SEA Games while the Malaysian team too had a good outing.
Indonesia re-emerged as the overall champions after being outclassed by Vietnam at the 1999 Games in Brunei.
The Indonesians collected nine gold, six silver and five bronze medals against Vietnam's six-five-seven tally.
Malaysia's medal count was five-one-four, their best since silat made its SEA Games debut in 1987.
Elsewhere, Singapore collected one gold, two silver and one bronze, the Philippines four silver and four bronze, Thailand two silver and nine bronze, Brunei one silver and two bronze, and Mynamr five bronze.
There were altogether 21 gold, 21 silver and 37 bronze medals at stake in silat. Five gold medals were offered in the artistic categories and 16 in the tanding (combat) categories.
Vietnam's former silat coach Suhartono said the Vietnamese exponents had high fighting spirit and strong mental resilience.
The Indonesian, who trained the Vietnamese team from 1995 to 2000, is responsible for Vietnam's success in emerging as the overall champions in the 1999 Games.
Suhartono, who is now the chief coach of the Philippine team, said Vietnam had become so good that it would not be surprising if one day Malaysia and Indonesia had to learn from them.
Malaysian team manager Datuk Mohd Rashidi Mohd Noor too praised the Vietnamese exponents.
"They have been consistent. They won seven gold in Brunei and have now collected six. I understand their exponents undergo intensive training on a continuous basis to face international-level tournaments," he said.
On the Malaysians' performance, Mohd Rasidi said he was on the whole satisfied although they did not meet his target of eight gold.
They managed to achieve the five-gold target set by the Olympics Council of Malaysia (OCM), he said.
While the silat exponents are working hard to excel, the marking system needs to be improved too.
At this Games, the Indonesians were clerly unhappy with he jury's decision in the contest between their woman exponent Al Fana and Vietnam's Trinh Thi Nga.
The jury ruled 4-1 in the Vietnam's favour but the Indonesians feel their exponent should have been the winner.
Meanwhile, efforts are underway to include silat as a competitive sports in the 2006 Asian Games after it is featured as a exhibition sport in the 2002 Games in Pusan.
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