PALEMBANG, Oct 1 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian contingent's outstanding achievement at the Islamic Solidarity Games (ISG) that ended here Tuesday, augers well for the development of sports in the country.
The games ended in a spectacular display of fireworks at the Jakabaring Stadium while singers from the 'Warna' group sang the 'One World' song before the participating countries entered the stadium for their farewell parade.
The 36,000 fans who filled the stadium to the capacity were also treated to an array of songs and musical performances.
The Malaysian contingent that came to Palembang with a modest target of three gold medals, managed to collect 26 gold, 17 silver and 29 bronze medals instead to finish fourth in the list of 57 Islamic countries.
The total medal haul was a far cry from the five gold, five silver and six bronze medal win at the first edition hosted by Saudi Arabia in 2005.
With the feat, Malaysia are now in the elite list of sporting powers among the 57 Muslim countries registered as affiliates under the Islamic Solidarity Federation (ISSF).
Host Indonesia emerged as the overall champion with 36 gold, 34 silver and 34 bronze while Iran with 30 gold, 17 silver, 12 bronze finished second ahead of Egypt with 26 gold, 31 silver and 29 bronze.
Aquatics was the biggest contributor to the Malaysian contingent's medal tally with 12 gold, three silver and six bronze while badminton swept six of the seven gold medals on offer in the games.
Wushu exponents were also in splendid form to grab a lions share of the gold medals at stake with four gold medals although the National Sports Council (NSC) did not set any target for them.
Archery contributed three gold medals and karate one to complete the medal haul.
In athletics, though Jackie Wong Siew Cheer did not win a medal, his distance of 59.53m was a new National record in the hammer throw.
Apart from the medal haul and the national record, 13 Malaysian athletes managed to better their personal best (PB) records in athletics and swimming events.
All in all, the achievements in the ISG certainly augers well for the Malaysian contingent's preparations for the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar, come December.
Meanwhile, in Kuala Lumpur, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the outstanding achievement by the Malaysian contingent in the ISG has instilled Malaysia as a powerhouse among country's affiliated to the ISSF.
"Although many participating countries did not send their National athletes, competition was still stiff and I am proud of the achievement of our athletes.
"The performance of athletes from swimming, badminton, wushu, archery and karate was very good," he told reporters after witnessing a sponsorship pledge from Astro to the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) to a tune of RM1 million to 17 National Sports Associations, Tuesday.
Through the sponsorship agreement that started in 2010, Astro will gather or produce and broadcast contents involving sports like football, hockey, squash, tenpin bowling, badminton and sepak takraw to viewers through Astro Awani channel 801.
Khairy said since more than half of the 136 athletes who participated in Palembang would be in action during the SEA Games in Myanmar from Dec 11 to 22, their achievement will auger well for the country's medal target.
From Ahmad Muliady Abdul Majid -- BERNAMA