JOHOR finished as overall champions in the five-day Teluk Danga International Games 2008 which ended in Johor Baru yesterday with a haul of 39 gold medals.
But the hosts were given a run in their chase for glitter with the 155-strong East Kalimantan contingent taking second with 36 gold, while Malaysia Games hosts Terengganu came third with 23.
On the final day of competition yesterday, Johor won gold through Halim Hasim in the men's 200m individual canoe to put the hosts beyond the reach of its rivals.
But it was Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) who won the last gold of the Games in women's beach volleyball when Yeoh Mei Yen and Wong Sim Yin beat Kalimantan's Martina and Mardalena Batang 21-16, 19-21, 17-15 in a thriller.
More than 80 contingents from ten countries - Germany, Hong Kong, the Czech Republic, Japan, Macau, Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia - competed in 28 sports.
The hosts finished champions in boxing, fencing, golf, lawn bowls, silat, bowling, volleyball and canoeing with East Kalimantan reigning supreme in weighlifting, tennis, football and taekwando.
With its resounding success, the Majlis Sukan Negeri Johor (MSNJ) is already setting its sights on the Malaysia Games in May.
MSNJ director Mohd Shukri Mohd Masbah said potential gold medallists will be sent overseas for a short training stint to prepare them for the Malaysia Games.
"We have identified Australia (lawn bowls), Vietnam (silat), Aceh (fencing), Mongolia (judo), South Korea (archery), Indonesia (kayak) and Singapore (athletics) as bases where we will get expert coaching," said Mohd Shukri.
The MSNJ has set aside RM1.5 million as a training budget and is targeting 40 gold medals in Terengganu.