Malaysia were crowned Southeast Asian Games rugby sevens champions for the first time after they beat Singapore 22-7 in the final to win gold at the Kelana Jaya Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, which also served as the venue for the 1998 Commonwealth Games rugby sevens competition.

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Around 15,000 spectators, including the Malaysian Prime Minister and Sports Minister, were on hand to see the host nation outscore the opposition four tries to one and go one better than in 2015 when they finished runners-up to the Philippines. The defending champions missed out on bronze to Thailand.

Malaysia were the first on the scoreboard in the final thanks to a try from Muhammad Azwan Zuwairi Mat Zizz, but Singapore edged in front when Yau Yu Hong’s score was converted by Marah Moehammad Ishraf. However, the capacity crowd left for home happy after Malaysia came roaring back to score 17 unanswered points.

“It is a great feeling making sporting history for the country,” said captain Zulkiflee Azmi, alluding to the fact that Malaysia had never finished higher than third before.

The women’s event was played at the same venue, and for the third final in a row it was Thailand who took top honours against Singapore, this time 17-10. Thailand had also beaten Singapore in the 2007 and 2015 title deciders. The Malaysian women's team won their first-ever medal by edging the Philippines 7-5 in the shootout for bronze.

Photos credit: National Sports Council of Malaysia