The 2019 South East Asian Games is over, and Malaysia was placed fifth, while the host country, the Philippines emerged as the champion with 149 gold medals.
It has been an ongoing controversy that the host nation will usually win the regional sports tournament.
Tactics such as organising games that will potentially score gold medals and dismissing games that won’t is usually enacted by the host nation.
There were also criticisms towards the biennial sporting event due to biased judging.
During the 2017 SEA Games hosted by Malaysia, the host nation emerged as the champion with 145 golds, while the second spot was taken by Thailand with 72 gold medals. The gap difference in the number of gold medals between the champion and the runner-up was 73.
For this year’s SEA Games, it was a tough situation for the Philippines. The host nation was criticised even before the start of the tournament. Mismanagement issues such as athletes being stranded at the airport for hours and athletes transported to the wrong hotel occurred.
However, that was just the beginning. When the SEA Games kicked off, netizens were furious over the unsportsmanlike behaviour portrayed by athletes from the Philippines.
Countless tweets criticised the sporting event, leading to the trending hashtag ‘#seagames2019fail’.
The Malaysian football team, Harimau Malaya was baffled during the pre-match handshake (in this case high-five) with their Philippines counterpart.
One of the players from the Philippines football team was rude during the session, slapping the hands of his opponent rather than high fiving them.
A video of the incident was tweeted and became viral in the Twittersphere.
In another incident, Malaysian silat exponent Faizul Nasir was kicked in the face by his opponent Dines Dumaan from the Philippines while he was down, which is against the rules of the martial sports.
Faizul was left unconscious and taken to the hospital, while Dines won the match and granted gold.
A video of the incident also went viral on Twitter.
Anyway, the 2019 SEA Games is over. Malaysia was 15 gold medals away from the target announced by the Youth and Sport Ministry. But kudos to our national athletes who did their best and made our country proud.