PENANG, 14 Sept. 2018 - The 1st Asia-Pacific Masters Games (APMG) in Penang, Malaysia on 7-15 September 2018 is the first-ever Masters multi-sport event to be held in Asia, and joined by participants from over 60 countries in the world.
An estimated 5,500 participants from the Asia-Pacific region participated in nine days of sporting challenge and excitement. It is a fantastic opportunity for those who love sports – an event featuring 22 sports played in one of South-East Asia’s top island destination.
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) also became the venue for some of the competition, with some of the staff members having the best moments in the history of USM by competing in Hockey, Netball, Cycling, Football and Athletics.
Many have managed to achieve podium finish in this Games, having standards as the Olympics and Asian Games, and hence are set to deliver on a similar platform and with experiences as other World-Class Games to all Masters.
For Hockey, two USM staff teams competed, the Flying Hoppers and OFA in the Master Veteran and Men Master, each team winning 1 Gold and 1 Silver. The staff team comprised Ahmad Zulman Mohd Zain, Suhaimi Abu Bakar, Ubaidillah Ozmin, Dr. Jamalsafri Saibon and Mohd Kamarizan Samaun.
Meanwhile in Netball, some of the players from USM joined the MBPP A and MBPP B teams, with the former winning 1 Gold and the latter 1 Silver medal. The USM staff members, fondly known by their nicknames are ‘Kak Kas’, ‘Kak Farah’, Juliana and Faridah.
Another team that made us proud is the USM Cycling Team which competed and won 1 Gold and 1 Silver medal. The gold came from Abdul Halim Che Aat in the MTB XCO M5 event, while the silver was won by Mohd Hisham Basrul in the Criterium event.
Five USM staff were also part of the Men and Women Football teams that won Gold medals.
In Men Football, Syfiq Sukri, Zairy Jafar and Mohd Fakhrul Radzi Yaacob represented the BM Football team which defeated MPSP A in the final, winning 5-4 on penalties after the match was tied at 1-1. While in Women Football - 30+ Competitive, Rohartina Razali and Salasiah Zakaria played for the BM Football team that trashed SJ Tigress team 10-0 in the final.
Both finals were held at Padang A, USM. All of them played their hearts out and were thrilled to be part of the winning teams that have brought home the Gold medals.
In Badminton, Mustaffa Kamal Esa from USM Sports and Recreation Centre took home two Gold medals when he won the Men’s single 35+ category, and the Men’s double 35+ category partnering Dr. Mohd Ismail Isa, a lecturer from the School of Housing. Building and Planning.
Meanwhile, in Chinese martial arts, Dr. George Teoh Boon Sai, a senior lecturer at the School of Distance Education, bagged 2 silver medals for the country in the Male Traditional Taiji Short Weapon (55-59 years) and Male Traditional Taiji Quan (55-59 years).
Finally in Athletics, USM staff Hafiz Meah Ghouse Meah became the finisher for the Half Marathon (21KM) road race and was ranked at 5th placing in Asia-Pacific for this event with a sub 2 result in the road race, achieving his new personal best.
APMG is recognised by the International Masters Games Association (IMGA) and the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and is a global festival of sport for participants of eligible ages and all capabilities.
There is no qualifying or selection process involved. A person needs only to be of a certain age in a chosen sport and on average, the minimum age required to participate is 30 years old and just like the Olympics, there are opening and closing ceremonies, and medals are awarded for the podium finishers in all events.
True to its tagline “Beyond the Games”, APMG 2018 is more than just a sporting event because it represents an avenue to foster friendship, goodwill and a chance to propel the growth of the Masters Sports competition, especially in the Asian region.
Malaysia as the host entered 3,325 athletes for the 22 sports categories in the Games, while total foreign participation is 2,217. India sent the second largest contingent of 319 athletes, Australia third with 286, while Japan have 241.
What is unique about the Games is that individual entries are also allowed to be registered and the athletes would represent their respective sports and not the nation as a whole for the Games.
Text: Hafiz Meah Ghouse Meah