Malaysia ends SEA Games 31 in sixth place hinh anh 1A player of Malaysia (in yellow and black) in the bronze medal match of the men's football at SEA Games 31 with Indonesia (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Malaysian team concluded the SEA Games 31 hosted by Vietnam at the sixth place on the medal tally, winning a total of 174 medals, including 39 golds, 45 silvers and 90 bronzes.

Although the country has realised its set target of 36 golds, its ranking is considered the ‘worst performance in 40 years’.

Traditionally a regional sport power, Malaysia is usually in the regional top five and the last time it settled for sixth was in 1983, when only eight nations took part, compared to the current 11.

Malaysia made a strong start at the SEA Games 31, winning all eight golds in diving, with the rest of the medals scattered across other sports.

The exposure gained at the SEA Games is crucial for the country to achieve more success in other multi-sport Games like the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, said Minister of Youth and Sports Ahmad Faizal Azumu.

The Malaysian government slashed sports spending in 2021 to 289 million MYR (about 67 million USD) from 940 million MYR the year before.

It also cut down its full-time number of athletes from 432 to 288, months after earning one silver and one bronze at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

SEA Games 31, themed “For a Stronger South East Asia”, is held in Hanoi and 11 neighbouring provinces and cities from May 12 - 23.

It features 40 sports with 523 events, attracting around 10,000 participants. The biennial event was initially slated for late 2021 but delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic./.