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Friday October 25, 2013 MYT 6:19:00 PM
Friday October 25, 2013 MYT 8:12:28 PM
"Don't mess with Mohd Meeraj: The Malaysian could be the first local non-Chinese to win a gold medal at the World Wushu Championships that will begin in Kuala Lumpur next week.
KUALA LUMPUR: Mohd Meeraj Omar, who is of Pakistani-Malaysian parentage, could become the first local non-Chinese medallist for Malaysia at the World Wushu Championships in Kuala Lumpur next week.
Meeraj won a silver for Malaysia in sanshou (Chinese boxing) at the Asian Championships and World Cup in China last year and is currently in Xian for a one-month training stint.
The 22-year-old, who is also a professional boxer, is training with China’s top boxers, including world champion Huang Lei, who denied Meeraj the gold in the Malaysian’s first ever international outing in sanshou in the 90kg category at the Asian meet last year.
However, sanshou national coach Khoo Meng Yang said Meeraj will move down to the 85kg category at the world meet because “that’s where he stands a better chance of fighting for the gold”.
”Meeraj is learning new techniques ahead of the world meet. He is under a regimented training and learning the ‘knock down’ and ‘throw’ techniques.
“We have been monitoring his progress and he is responding well.
“I believe he can become our first world champion in sanshou and this is why we made the decision to send him to spar with the best in China because of his potential.
“We aim for him to make the final first,” said Meng Yang, who conducts training at TNT Kickboxing in Sri Hartamas.
Malaysia’s previous best achievement in this discipline was a bronze through Lew Chee Wai (men’s 75kg) in the 2005 edition in Vietnam.
Tan Jia Guan, Lee Wei Loong and Tang Pei Pin are the other local sanshou opponents competing in the world meet.
”However, Meeraj must be at his best in the world meet as China are not the only good team in sanshou.
“Iran, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Turkey and the Philippines also have good fighters.”
Meeraj, who joined the gym to avoid being bullied as a school kid, admitted that never in his wildest dreams did he think he would become a strong exponent in the event.
“I was overweight and always teased in school. I weighed 108kg when I left school and I decided to go to the gym to lose weight,” said Meeraj, who completed his Diploma in Business Studies at the KBU International College.
“That was about five years ago ... I picked up boxing there before switching to sanshou,”
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