The Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) is taking a pragmatic approach to this year’s 18th Asian Games in Indonesia and has not set any targets for the national team.
“Our players are ranked around 50th to 70th among the Asian players and therefore we do not wish to put too much pressure on them. We can only hope for the best and that they give their best,” said MGA vice-president CC Boo, who is also the national team sub-committee chairman.
The Malaysian squad for the 2018 Asian Games comprises Ervin Chang, Adam Arif Madzri, Muhammad Afif Mohd Fathi and Rhaasrikanesh Kanavathi for the men, while the women’s team is made up of Ashley Lau, Winnie Ng and Natasha Andrea Oon. The golf event takes place at the Pondok Indah Golf Club in Jakarta on August 23-26.
Boo added that the MGA is footing the bill for the team as golf has been classified under Category B by the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM). Expenses for Category B sports have to be borne by the respective national sports associations, but they will be reimbursed by the OCM if the results are deemed good enough.
“The MGA feels that participation in the Asian Games is for the country’s pride. Playing in the elite event would also certainly benefit our players in terms of exposure,” said Boo.
Boo noted that team selection was based on a number of factors. “Priority was given to players who agreed to sign a disciplinary agreement with MGA. Selection was based not only on their World Amateur Golf Rankings but also their current form, which is monitored by our national team sub-committee on a regular basis.
“We do have quite a number of overseas-based players but the national team sub-committee requires them to commit to return to Malaysia for a minimum of 10 days prior to the tournament date, for practice and acclimatisation,” explained Boo.
Unfortunately, the country’s top-ranked ladies’ amateur Loy Hee Ying is unable to play due to her college golf commitments for East Tennessee State University.
“Unfortunately Loy is unable to attend. Otherwise she would have stood a good chance for an individual medal and also to assist the team,” said Boo, adding that the MGA plans to organise a short team training stint in Malaysia before the players head to Indonesia.