The curtain has come down for this year’s SEA Games in The Philippines and it’s time to review how our athletes fared in this latest biannual games. Being the ToughAsia people that we are, we’ll focus on a few sports that we have special affinity for: triathlon and duathlon, obstacle course racing (OCR) and marathon.
Duathlon and Triathlon
A few firsts: the sport of duathlon is re-introduced after a 12-year-hiatus, with individual and mixed team relay categories being offered. In triathlon, the mixed team relay – which is also now an Olympics sport – was also a new addition.
Historically, Malaysia was likely the first country in Southeast Asia to introduce the sport of duathlon. The run-bike-run format sport had its beginnings in 2002 with Powerman. This Swiss brand grew over time and its Malaysia edition is today its largest event in the world, with more than 3,000 participants consistently taking part in the recent years.
Malaysia has its local heroes and its own duathlon communities. The sport though is still rather new in the rest of the SE Asian countries. Filipino athletes race and dominate the Powerman Malaysia races while Singapore athletes are familiar faces too, but not much is known of competitors from elsewhere.
In the Subic arena, our men finished 7th and 9th in a field of 12, our women on 8th and 9th out of 11, and the mixed team relay was 5th at the bottom of the field. Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam shared the medal spoils; unfortunately Malaysia came home empty.
In triathlon, the Philippines has always been known to be strong within the SE Asia. They have lots of grassroots and IRONMAN branded events in their race calendar, and their athletes take part and win in regional competitions. In Malaysia, we see the sport of triathlon growing, with IRONMAN adding a new multi-festival concept in Desaru Coast next year to complement their signature event in Langkawi.
Last week, our men finished 6th and 8th in a field of 10 and our women on 5th and 7th out of 10. The mixed team relay had a technical disqualification but were not on podium placing anyway.
Verdict: A pretty bad day in the office, with no medals in the bag, but the young squad brought a lot of experience home. With a new federation in place, hopefully they will be able to put programs in place to build coaching staff and the grassroots for the international stage over the next few years.
In the grassroots running scene, there are lots of of marathons mushrooming all over Malaysia week in, week out. This bodes well for the sport, as well as for Malaysians looking at healthier lifestyle choices. Thus, the marathon category has been gaining more interest lately as a result of this awareness.
In 2017, Muhaizar Mohamad had Malaysia’s first medal in 44 years with his third place finish. That was the year when Singapore’s Soh Rui Yong completed his brace of SEA Games marathon gold performances. In 2019, Soh was not in the starting lineup, Indonesia’s Agus Prayogo moved up from silver to gold medal, but this year’s silver medal went to Namkhet Sanchai of Thailand. Malaysia had no representation in the women’s category.
Verdict: Quite a pretty good outing for Muhaizar. Let’s hope he can have one more better shot in the 2021 edition. And that we can finally have a women’s representative.
Obstacle Course Racing (OCR)
OCR is also newly introduced in this year’s edition. So, information on the strength of the field was unknown. Perhaps, the main indicator would be the elites field of the regional Spartan race series. Nevertheless, our own spartan, Saddam Pittli did Malaysia proud with a silver and a bronze medal for the ‘Mixed Team Assist 400m X 12 Obstacles’ and the ‘Individual 5K X 20 Obstacles’ races respectively. Overall, the team reaped 3 silvers and 1 bronze.
Verdict: A very good performance. Let’s hope we can have more OCR athletes soon.
We’re aware that the national triathlon association that was revamped earlier this year has got plans to develop this sport further. And that the grassroots participation for duathlon, triathlon, marathon and OCR are progressively increasingly. This bodes well for these sports, and with more races on offer, let’s hope we can unearth new talents and develop our current athletes further for the next edition of SEA Games. Malaysia boleh!
1. PHI 00:02:00.92
MOHD REDHA ROZLAN
YOONG WEI THENG
MOHD DRUS SALFARINA
TAN JIE YI
NADIA PUTR4. LAO 00:02:40.23
2. MOHAMMAD SHERWIN MANAGIL (PHI) 00:26:16.00
3. MOHD SADDAM MOHD PITTLI (MAS) 00:28:02.00
different heats for each, hence the difference in timing.
2. MOHD REDHA ROZLAN (MAS) 00:00:34.01
3. MARK RODELAS (PHI) 00:00:32.94
4. YOONG WEI THENG (MAS) 00:00:38.58
2. MILKY TEJARES (PHI) 00:00:47.88
3. MUDJI MULYANI (INA) 00:00:54.23
4. TAN JIE YI (MAS) 00:00:56.08
Note: MAS YIP HUI TENG DNF