Where does Malaysia really stand at the benchmark regional ASEAN+ Age Groups?
One of the wonderful things about the ASEAN+ Age Groups is that there are so many medals up for grabs! Tie-breaks don't apply and there are team medals too by taking the cumulative scores of the top three from each country in each category.
From U-8 Open & Girls to Senior 65, there was no less than 18 categories and with standard, rapid and blitz, 52 categories for individual alone and when multiplied by two for teams, 104, so a minimum of 312 medals were on offer! (ASEAN countries even get extra if a medalist comes from outside ASEAN and often there are shared Bronze).
But for this quick analysis, lets just look at individual medals because at the end of the day that is the real measurement, and tellingly while Malaysia with sixth place falls in the middle of the medal standing, we are actually the worst of the well represented ASEAN countries, arguably just on par with our small neighbours Singapore which perhaps had their best ever result, their new golden generation of U-14s scoring heavily for them.
Final Ranking after 9 Rounds
Vietnam is the perennial powerhouses and participated with no less than 216 representations in all categories and all formats, finishing first (67 medals, 20 Gold).
The Philippines which came second had 150 and (37 medals, 16 Gold) while Singapore with 140 (7 medals, 2 Gold) were a distant fourth, that alone an indicator that having large numbers was not all the reason.
Malaysia are next with 128 but are only sixth (7 medals, one Gold), while Indonesia with just 24 are amazingly third (7 medals, 3 Gold, one more than Singapore!) and China, largely represented by nearby provinces, with 70 finished fourth (6 medals, 2 Gold)... but then the numbers drop drastically, Laos (playing for exposure) and Mongolia (mainly veteran women), both with 36, Thailand with 20 and Hongkong 19. Even Macau had just 12.
|14||MYA||Union of Myanmar||9|
|17||PNG||Papua New Guinea||1|
So how did Malaysia really do? Well, the experienced Wong Yinn Long got our only Gold in the U-12 Open Standard and shared Silver in U-12 Open Rapid while Lye Lik Zang who was otherwise disappointing in U-10 Open where he was top seeded, finally gave up on the competition and instead moved up to play U-12 Open Blitz where he got Bronze.
Also the less fancied of our three national players in the U-20 Girls, Puteri Rafqah Fahada Azhar, dropped down in her final event, to her natural age-group, for U-16 Girls Blitz where she got the Bronze shared with four others!
That is really our 4 medals as it was Ismail Ahmad in the supporting "old man" events where he shared Silver in 50 Senior Standard, got Bronze in Senior Rapid and again shared Silver in Senior Blitz (which made him our most medalled player in a category oddity in an Age Group Championships) and helped boost our total to 7 medals.
No, my conclusion is not to suggest that we send more veterans in future! It is just that clearly we had a leader this event with Yinn Long and if we have any future prospects beyond him they are from those younger, several who have clearly stagnated or are now following the usual pattern of deteriorating results as they get older, the reasons of course as much that of their parents as would be shouting blame at or attributing failure to MCF!