PENANG got back on track in the 19th Sukma (Malaysia Games) by grabbing six golds yesterday (Sept 17) to remain in third spot overall.
Karate delivered three goals, swimming contributed two and petanque provided one to boost Penang’s medal tally to 18 gold, 14 silver and 11 bronze medals.
Terengganu continued to forge ahead with 24-23-23 while Federal Territory stayed in second spot overall with 21-15-20.
Penang are in third spot, just ahead of Sarawak (17-13-27) by a mere gold while other states like hosts Perak (14-21-23), Johor (14-11-16), Sabah (14-9-14), Selangor (13-26-29) and Malacca (11-10-11) are hot in contention.
Penang Youth and Sports Committee chairman Soon Lip Chee (left) and Penang State Sports Council director Frederick Tan Teck An sharing the joy of the women’s karate kata team for their gold medal winning effort.
After a gold drought on Sunday, it was women’s singles petanque player Siti Asiah Zaini, US-based swimmers Lim Yin Chuen and Elynn Tan Yilin, men’s kata team and women’s kata team, and men’s kumite team who brought the cheers to Penang with their winning efforts.
Besides the six golds, Penang clinched three silvers through archers Syed Imran Syed Ibrahim (compound men 50m), M. Khambeswaran (compound men 30m) and M. Pritiswary (compound women 50m) and two bronze medals through Syed Imran (compound men 30m) and badminton player Yeoh Seng Zoe.
Siti Asiah made a great come-from-behind victory by beating Siti Nur Syakirin Mohd Kamin of Johor 13-12 in the women’s singles petanque final. She was trailing 4-10 and 6-12 before registering the stunning victory.
“I was resigned to settle for silver after my rival had taken such a wide lead, but my coach (Nasir Mohd Noor) and many Penang supporters kept encouraging me not to give up,” said Asiah, a student of Kulim Polytechnic. This is her second Sukma after finishing fourth in the women’s singles in the 2016 Sukma in Sarawak.
Yin Chuen competing in the 400m individual medley, He had earlier won the men’s 200m freestyle gold medal.
Yin Chuen, who will be studying at the University of Georgia when he returns to the US, got off to good start for Penang by clinching the gold medal in the men’s 200m freestyle in 1:52.64, ahead of Foong Wei Tze of Malacca and Arvin Shaun Singh Chahal of Terengganu, who both timed 1:53.12 for joint second place.
“I wasn’t that confident because I didn’t train hard enough. But it’s nice to get a gold in my first Sukma. And I’m hoping to get more,” said Yin Chuen, whose father, Yit Aun, and aunties Yit Bin and Yit Sin were all former national swimming stars.
“I felt really tired at the end and saw the Malacca swimmer was slightly behind me. So, I put my head down to get to the wall.”
Yin Chuen, who hopes to represent Malaysia in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, later took part in the 400m individual medley but managed fifth spot. He had represented Malaysia once before in the Youth Commonwealth Games last July in Bahamas.
He and the other two medallists were presented their prizes by Penang state executive committee member Chong Eng, who was accompanied by deputy chef de mission Cheah Ban Cheng and Perak’s Canning assemblyman Jenny Choy at the prize giving ceremony.
Siti Asiah, flanked by Nur Syakirin (left) and Nurashimah Senin after receiving their prizes for the women’s singles petanque.
Elynn, who flew back primarily for the Sukma after enrolling at the Iowa State University a month ago, is gunning for more medals as she has entered for seven individual events.
“This was probably one of my best performances,” she said after winning the 50m backstroke in 30.75, ahead of Nessa Yip Yi Wen of Selangor (31.35) and Christy Teh Yi Wen of Selangor (32.05).
Karate kata exponents won the men’s team and women’s team golds again, thus making a clean sweep of all four golds at stake. They had earlier took the men’s individual and women’s individual titles.
It was a remarkable feat for Penang karate kata team to have dominated Sukma by winning all four golds in the past three editions as well, in 2012, 2014 and 2016.
“I’m very happy and proud of their performance. They deserve it. All the kata athletes are very disciplined. I hope they will continue to do well and shine in international arena,” said coach Lee Lee, who together with her husband, Khoo Jin Keat, are also national coaches.
The Penang men’s kata team, comprising Ooi San Hong, Ernie Tye Chun Chuen and Yong Kojiro, and the Penang women’s team consisting of Ariana Lim Junyi, Chang Sin Yi and Cherlene Cheung Xue Lin, proved too good for their counterparts from Perak in the two finals by winning by identical 5-0 margins.
The Penang karate kumite team, consisting of S. Sharventharan, S. Thayalan, M. Saswin, Muhammad Arif Malik, Cheng Zhi Chao, M. Parvin and R. Pubathi, ended their campaign on a high note by defeating Selangor 3-1 in the final.
The victorious Penang men’s karate kumite team posing for a photograph after the prize presentation.
Team manager William Tang complimented his team for working hard to achieve the success.
“I salute all the Penang warriors. This tournament is a very tough one for us because all my athletes were new, except for one. Yet they still managed to emerge champions. They did an excellent job,” Tang said.
But Penang athletes failed to sparkle on the opening day of the athletics programme.
The best performance came from high jumper Lim Wei Keat, who finished fourth with a personal best of 1.97m. The Form Five student of SMK Mak Mandin had a previous best of 1.79.
The event was won by birthday boy Norshafiee Mohd Shah, who recorded 2.06m to retain the title he won in the 2016 Sukma in Sarawak.
“It’s like a perfect birthday gift for me,” said Norshafiee, who turns 21 and would not be eligible to take part in the next Sukma.