Tahniah Wilayah Persekutuan sbg juara keseluruhan SUKMA. Tahniah juga kpd Perlis yg menjadi tuan rumah. pic.twitter.com/jrBxBAqyGZ
— Mohd Najib Tun Razak (@NajibRazak) June 5, 2014
CLOSING CEREMONY: Perlis says goodbye, focus now on SarawakTHE 17th Malaysia Games in Perlis came to an end yesterday with the Federal Territories being crowned overall champions with the most number of medals.
Their 55 gold, 38 silver and 49 bronze did not only better their previous haul of 37 gold at the 2012 Games in Pahang, but also surpassed their target of 50 gold.
The RM120 million games offered a total of 389 gold, 388 silver and 469 bronze from 24 disciplines.
Five national and 30 Games record were set at this year's edition, eclipsing the previous games that had three national and 33 Games records.
Negri Sembilan's discus thrower Muhammad Irfan Shamshuddin and Sarawak's weightlifter Jelinie Anak Empera were honoured as the Malaysia Games' men’s and women's athlete respectively.
It was an even sweeter victory for the duo when they received the respective awards from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Earlier in his speech at the official closing ceremony at Stadium Tuanku Syed Putra here, Najib congratulated the Perlis government for defying the odds to host the Games for the first time.
He said when the Games committee was about to decide on the host for the 17th Games back then, many quarters had cast doubt on the ability of the smallest state in the country to shoulder the responsibility.
“However, Perlis has proven its ability to perform as a successful host since the Sukma Games was opened on May 24 until the closing ceremony tonight,” Najib said.
Present were Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man, Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and his deputy Datuk Loga Bala Mohan and Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.
Najib added that the Malaysia Games was a crucial platform to groom talents to represent Malaysia at international competitions.
Citing an example, he said the Malaysian team had nearly ended their 22-year-wait to bring home the Thomas Cup recently following the contribution of young shuttlers.
“That is why we must continue to develop young talents so that we could have strong shuttlers to complement world-class athlete like Datuk Lee Chong Wei,” he stressed.
Najib added that sports was also an ideal medium to promote unity among young athletes from all the country, besides paving the way for the development of new sports infrastructure in the state such as Perlis Aquatic Centre and Badminton Stadium.
Sarawak has been selected as the host for the next Malaysia Games to be held in two years time.
National Sports Council director-general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong noted that clearly, there was improvement from the Pelapis (back-up) programmes, be it national, regional or state level.
A total of 1,452 athletes from the Pelapis programmes contributed to 160 gold, 163 silver and 155 bronze at this year's Games.
In 2010, 1,707 Pelapis athletes delivered 105 gold, 107 silver and 122 bronze.
“The improvement from our Pelapis athletes has been really encouraging at the Games.
“Some of the athletes under our programmes who have done really well are Sabah's Constantine Clement, who broke the national record in weightlifting and Perak's Muhammad Firdaus Musa, whose time in the men's 400m hurdle has earned him a qualification for the Asian Games
“The improvement was also based on the 17 Games record set by the Pelapis athletes, four more than the 14 records set in Pahang,” Zolkples said yesterday.
Read more: Rise of the next generation - Other - New Straits Times