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Tuesday April 23, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday April 26, 2013 MYT 12:36:59 AM
by lim teik huat
Expert fighter: L. Kunasilan bagged gold in the 55kg kumite event at the recently concluded South-East
Asian Championships in Manila.
SEPANG: Malaysia can look forward to a rocking performance in the Myanmar SEA Games in December if the performance of the karate team at the just-concluded South-East Asian Championships in Manila is of any indication.
The Malaysian team clinched 11 golds, eight silvers and seven bronzes to pip arch-rivals Indonesia (9-5-10) to the overall crown. The most satisfying win for Malaysia was in the men’s team kumite.
Malaysia have not won the men’s team kumite gold at the SEA Games for a long time and will be looking to repeat their victory over Indonesia when they clash again in Myanmar.
The elite squad exponents carried the torch by delivering eight golds while the rest came from the juniors.
Seasoned campaigner L. Kunasilan proved to be a dependable replacement for Indonesia SEA Games gold medallist Loganath Rao, who skipped the competition in Manila, by taking gold in the men’s below 55kg kumite. He defeated Myanmar’s Maung Maung Hein in the final.
Indonesia SEA Games gold medallist Shaharudin Jamaludin did not disappoint in the men’s below 67kg kumite as he overcame Ragonathan Sharmendran in the all-Malaysian final. Back-up exponent S. Jayaraman also shone in the below 75kg kumite, beating SEA Games champion Pham Duy Manh of Vietnam in the final.
Lim Chee Wei chalked up an upset win over reigning Asian champion Leong Tze Wai to claim the men’s individual kata title while Celine Lee completed the Malaysian sweep after she overcame team-mate Khaw Yee Voon in the women’s individual kata final.
Syakilla Salni and Nisha Alagasan, who lost in the bronze playoff at the World Championships in Paris last year, were the individual women gold medallists for Malaysia in the below 61kg and 55kg respectively.
Malaysia Karate Federation (MKF) secretary general Vincent Chen was pleased with the team’s overall performance.
“It’s not just our seasoned fighters in the elite squad who delivered as the back-up exponents also did well too.
“Back-up fighters like Jayaraman and Sharmendran fought well to contribute medals although the Manila meet was their first international competition.
“We can now look forward to the SEA Games knowing we have a good team in December,” he said.
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