The XXI SEA Games
8 - 17 September 2001
The 1st SEAP Games was held in Bangkok in 1959, with 6 participating National Olympic Committees from the Southeast Asia Peninsula. A total of 12 sports was competed in the Games, with 67 gold medals, 68 silver medals and 64 bronze medals, making a total of 199 medals to be won.
From 1959 to right up to 1985, the rules of the SEAP/SEA Games restricted the total number of sports in the programme to a maximum of 18. But from 1959 to 1973, the number of sports never exceeded 16. There was a corresponding increase in the number of medals at stake, with the increase in the number of sports. For example, the number of sports in the 3rd SEAP Games was 14 with a total of 135 gold medals and a grand total of 398 medals. In the 7th SEAP Games in 1973, the number of sports had increased to 16, with total number of gold medals at 161, but the grand total of medals increased from 398 to 497 - a difference of 99. This is due to the awarding of 2 bronze medals in many events.
The number of sports in the 8th SEA Games in Bangkok in 1975 was 18 and remained more or less stable until the 13th SEA Games in Bangkok in 1985. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the events or medals, which saw some drastic increase. In the 8th SEAP Games in Bangkok in 1975, there were 176 events with a total of 519 medals. In the 11th SEA Games held in Manila in 1981, there was also 18 sports, but the number of events had increased to 225 with a total of 755 medals, representing an increase of 28% in the number of events.
However the largest increase was from the 14th SEA Games held in Jakarta in 1987. After the 13th SEA Games in Bangkok in 1985, the Constitution of the SEA Games Federation was amended with the removal of the provision on the maximum number of sports in the SEA Games programme. This allowed the Organising Committee of the 14th SEA Games in Jakarta to increase the number of sports from 18 in 1985 to 26 in 1987 and the total number of events from 255 to 348.
With the opening of the flood gates, the number of sports in the SEA Games programme has been increasing, with the maximum number of sports and events being in the 19th SEA Games held in Jakarta in 1997, where there were 34 sports and 438 events and a total of 1411 medals in contention.
The 20th SEA Games held for the first time in Brunei Darussalam in 1999, was an exception. For this Games, the number of sports was only 21 with 230 events and a total of 779 medals. For the 21st SEA Games, to be held in Kuala Lumpur in 2001, the number of sports is 32 and the number of events is 391. As such a simple comparison of the number of gold medals or the total number of medals won by the Malaysian Contingent in the past SEAP/SEA Games would not be very accurate. A more accurate analysis would be to compare the number of medals won as against the total number of medals in contention, as well as where the Games. was held.
The graph below is a summary of the gold medal performance of the Malaysian Contingents from the 1st SEAP Games to the 20th SEA Games.
The summary and graph show that the Malaysian Contingent achieved its best results when the SEAP/SEA Games were hosted in Kuala Lumpur in 1965, 1971 and 1989, where it won 24.44%, 28.67% and 22.19% respectively of the gold medals in contention and finishing in second place. The exception was the 9th SEA Games held in Kuala Lumpur in 1977 when, on the initiative of the OCM, the 9th SEAP Games became the 9th SEA Games with the inclusion of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and the Philippines. With the unknown strength of the new participating countries, especially from Indonesia and the Philippines, the Malaysian Contingent lost the home ground advantage and could only finish in 4th position out of 7 participating countries.
From 1979 to 1987, a period of 10 years, the Malaysian Contingent's performance in the SEA Games was quite unsatisfactory. The Malaysian Contingent achieved its poorest results in terms of gold medal won in the SEA Games from 1979 to 1983. The percentage of gold medal won in 1979, 1981 and 1983 was 7.93%, 7.11% and 7.66% respectively. These were the three out of four SEA Games, when the Malaysian Contingent won less than 10% of the gold medals at stake. The other occasion was the 1985 SEA Games, in Chiang Mai, where the Contingent won only 9.28%.
Over the twenty SEAP/SEA Games held to date, the Malaysian Contingent won over 20% of the gold medals at stake on only four occasions, in 1965, 1971, 1989 and 1999, between 15% and 20% on four occasions, between 10% to 15% on eight occasions and below 10% on four occasions. The 20th SEA Games held in Brunei Darussalam in 1999, was the first time that the Malaysian Contingent won over 20% (24.78%) of the gold medals outside Malaysia.
The ranking of the Malaysian Contingent based on gold medals won, follows very much the gold medal percentages. On the four occasions, the Malaysian Contingent won over 20% of the gold medals, it finished in second position. For percentages between 15 to 20, which occurred four times, the Contingent finished in third position three times and in fourth position once (in 1975). When the Contingent won less than 15% of the gold medals, it could only finish not higher than fourth, although it finished third once in 1997.
The above analysis shows the following:
The table below presents a summary of the total medals at stake and the gold medals won by the Malaysian Contingent, in terms of numbers and percentage of the total gold medals in contention. Note that for the 8th SEAP Games in Bangkok in 1975 saw a dramatic decrease in the number of participating countries from the normal 7 to only 4, with the temporary withdrawal of the 3 former French Indo-China countries. With only 4 participating countries, Malaysia finished fourth, or last, with 27 Gold medals.