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Published: Wednesday December 18, 2013 MYT 9:00:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday December 18, 2013 MYT 9:02:02 PM

Lokman books berth in muay final

NAYPYITAW: The sound from the gongs and the chants from crazy fans were insanely loud inside the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium but the scream of delight from Mohd Lokman Akimi Mat Raji certainly topped it.

On Wednesday, SEA Games debutant Lokman jumped and pumped his fists in sheer joy after assuring a silver medal in the bag for the country by reaching the final of the muay’s 51kg bout.

The 24-year-old from the police force fought bravely to beat Somsay Sopaseuth of Loas in a toe-to-toe slugging semi-final match, which earned good points from the jury in favour of the Malaysian.

He will take on Vietnam’s Nguyen Ngo Trieu Nhat in a gold medal fight on Friday.

Lokman, who lost four kilos over the last two months to qualify for the 51kg category, said that the one-month intensive training in Thailand made a lot of difference.

“Just before coming here, we trained in Thailand. It was an intensive training that really prepared us physically and mentally for my first SEA Games,” said Lokman.

“I must thank the police force for allowing me to take a long break to prepare for the Games.

“The NSC (National Sports Council) has also been supportive by sending us under Category A. All this really spurred me on to fight hard.

“I however started hesitantly against the Laoation but half-way through the match, I was landing punches and repeated kicks against him. Fortunately, many of his strikes did not land on me.”

Lokman, who has been fascinated with muay since he was 14, is determined to give the knockout blow to his Vietnamese opponent in the gold medal fight.

“I have come this far and I will surely go all out,” he added.

Lokman is the only Malaysian left standing in the competition after his two compatriots Mohd Sukri Hassan and Mohd Rafi Abdul Manaf crashed out in the semi-finals.

Tags / Keywords: muay, SEA Games, Malaysia, Myanmar, Naypyitaw, Nyapidaw, Mohd Lokman Akimi Mat Raji