The joy over our athletes’ feat was still palpable among spectators of Independence Day celebrations here today. Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah (two, right) and Raja Permaisuri Perak Tuanku Zara Salim at Ambang Merdeka celebration at Ipoh City Square today. Also present were Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir (two, left). (Bernama photo)

IPOH: It was a spectacular achievement for Malaysia’s 2017 Kuala Lumpur Sea Games contingent – not only for raking in a record 145 gold medals, but for uniting the country in sporting pride.

The joy over our athletes’ feat was still palpable among spectators of Independence Day celebrations here today, with many still smiling over the historic tour de force triumph.

Ahmad Abdullah Halim, 32, said it is a double thrill for the country after collecting the highest number of gold medals in the competition, and at the same time, celebrating Merdeka Day today.

"It is a day to be remembered for all Malaysians. I am so proud of our athletes' achievements.

"I hope our contingent will maintain their remarkable performance and do their level best for the next Sea Games in the Philippines," said the civil servant.

R. Kumaran, 25, said he was incredibly proud of Malaysia for being declared the overall champion of the 2017 Sea Games.

“I am very happy Malaysia won many gold medals, but I am even happier that Malaysians of all races came together to support the national contingent.

"I hope for the next Sea Games, we will secure more gold medals and more records will be broken," he added.

Malaysia emerged as the best sporting nation in Southeast Asia, topping the medal tally at the 2017 Sea Games with 145 gold, 92 silver and 86 bronze medals.

With a total count of 323 medals, this is Malaysia's best-ever finish in the history of the Sea Games.

It is the second time Malaysia topped the Games after their first number one finish in 2001, when the country won 111 golds, also on home soil.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Rugby Union president Datuk Shahrul Zaman Yahya said the national contingent’s outstanding achievement is "testimony to Malaysians rising together and putting their hearts and minds into achieving the same goal.

"This also shows how sports science is being applied in optimising athletes' wellbeing, thus improving their performance," said Shahrul, who is also Perak Youth, Sports, Communications and Multimedia Committee chairman.

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