After 11 days of action, the 2022 Commonwealth Games concluded on Monday with much fanfare.
Host nation England finished second on the medal standings with 176 medals in total, just two behind Australia.
The Oz, set to host the next Games in Victoria in 2026, were the top performing nation for the 14th time in 22 editions with 67 gold, 57 silver and 54 bronze medals.
For Malaysia, it was a good outing on paper as they achieved seven gold medals, exceeding the target of six and matching the performances in Gold Coast four years ago, and had 23 medals in total.
Contributing massively to the medal haul were the weightlifting and para powerlifting squad with three gold medals and one silver.
Aniq was not the only surprise success story for the country, as 16-year-old Ng Joe Ee defied her age to bag two gold medals in rhythmic gymnastics.
She also became the most successful Malaysian rhythmic gymnast at the Commonwealth Games, surpassing Elaine Koon and Amy Kwan who won a gold medal each in 2010 and 2018 respectively.
The other two gold medals were courtesy of the badminton contingent despite missing Lee Zii Jia.
Firstly they regained the mixed team gold medal they lost to India four years ago, beating the same opponents in the final to make the victory even sweeter, before Pearly Tan and M. Thinaah got Malaysia over the target in the last event of the Birmingham showcase.
Ng Tze Yong nearly made it three with his stunning run to the men's singles final, which saw him beat world champion Loh Kean Yew and former world number one Srikanth Kidambi among others, but fell to Indian star Lakshya Sen.
Table tennis unexpectedly contributed two silver medals as Malaysian paddlers reached the women's team and mixed doubles finals, while Amir Daniel Abdul Majeed clinched the nation's first-ever medal in judo.
There were also some joy from the concurrently run Commonwealth Esports Championships, which saw Malaysia being ranked number one on the medal standings with three gold medals in eFootball and Dota 2 (Women & Open).
What a fantastic time at #CEC2022, as all the athletes fought to bring glory to their teams and countries. ?— Global Esports Federation (@GE_Federation) August 7, 2022
Here is the overall #esports medal count of all the teams across both days. ???
We hope everyone had as much fun as we did. ✨#worldconnected #CommonwealthSport pic.twitter.com/x5BxymDyCt
However, taking nothing away from the national contingent's success, a constructive post-mortem analysis would still be required from the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) due to several departments underperforming.
For example, men's doubles pair Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik were unable to reach the badminton final, settling for bronze instead despite being the top seed.
Also, lawn bowls and squash were aimed at bagging a gold medal each, but the two sports only yielded one silver and two bronze medals for Malaysia.
In the case of the former, Siti Zalina Ahmad and Emma Saroji were unable to defend their Gold Coast women's pairs crown as they lost in the semi-finals before suffering another defeat in the bronze medal match.
The trio of Azlina Arshad, Syafiqa Rahman and Nur Tarmizi were the only lawn bowls representatives to reach a final, where England proved to be more superior.
As for the squash team, which had a huge setback due to rising star S. Sivasangari's car accident, they made a strong push but had to settle for one bronze medal finish won by Rachel Arnold and Aifa Azman in an all-Malaysian women's doubles showdown against Chan Yi Wen and Ainaa Ampandi.
Meanwhile, despite not being a gold medal target, it was concerning that Malaysia did not win a diving gold medal for the first time in 16 years.
The national diving squad, who had won one gold in each of the last three editions, managed three silver and one bronze medals at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre this time.
With the rescheduled Asian Games in Hangzhou and the Summer Olympics in Paris on the horizon, Malaysia could ill afford to struggle in potential gold medal events.