HANOI, Dec 13 (Bernama) -- No one who came here dared to set a high target for pencak silat, but if any of the participant, except the host, managed to capture more than one gold medal it is considered an achievement.
Beating the host athletes, who put up a splendid performance throughout the games, would truly be a bonus.
Like any other subjective sport, pencak silat was among the events which the visitors found difficult to predict the outcome.
As in the previous Games, the host always had an edge over the visitors and this was proven from the 11 gold medal achievement by the Vietnam pencak silat contingent, which was their best ever.
They took five gold medals in the men's category and six in the women's out of the 22 gold medals at stake.
Indonesia, once a powerhouse in the event, also found the homesters a hard nut to crack and they only managed to bring home four gold -- three from the tanding and one from the silat seni category.
Singapore also showed an improvement with their three gold medal achievement and it was something that the republic could take pride in.
Thailand and Brunei had one each while Malaysia took home two gold, two silver and three bronze medals.
They won the gold through Mohd Azrin Abd Malek in the men's 95kg category as well as in the wirasanda category through Marwan Mat Rus and Muhammad Zainal. The silver were delivered by Siti Jameelah Japilus (women's 55kg) and Mastura Safuan in the 70kg catgory.
The bronze came from Mohd Khoharullah Abd Majid (men's 50kg), Ahmad Shahril Zailudin (men's 65kg) and Amy Latip in the women's 65kg category.
Despite the fact that pencak silat used to be Malaysia's "gold mine" in past games, their outing here was a disappointment and way below their three gold medal target.
From the start of the event, the Malaysian exponents were easily knocked-out by their opponents as early as in the first round.
the Malaysian Pencak Silat Association (Pesaka) must be more aggressive in their development programmes and should be better prepared for the next Games in Manila.
The two gold medal achievement here should be used as a platform by Pesaka to study what had gone wrong with the exponents and find out what happened to the five gold medals which they had won in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games two years ago.
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