Wednesday, 27 August 2014 | MYT 5:43 PM
Kumar aims to go all out in his last Asian Games
S. Kumar made his debut in the 2002 Busan Asian Games, helping Malaysia to the bronze medal.
KUALA LUMPUR: Next month’s Incheon assignment will be the fourth and last Asia Games for hockey goalkeeper S. Kumar.
And the 35-year-old intends to mark his Asiad swansong a memorable one – by helping Malaysia finish as high as possible.
The Tampin-born player made his debut in the 2002 Busan Asian Games, helping Malaysia to the bronze medal. Four years later, they finished fifth in Doha.
At the Guangzhou Asiad in 2010, Malaysia won the silver medal – their best achievement in the Games.
“The time has come for me to retire ... and to allow younger goalkeepers to take over,” said Kumar, who has represented Malaysia since the 1999 SEA Games in Brunei and with 238 international caps to his name.
“I will retire after the World League second round in India next January.
“I have featured in four Asian Games and my best Games was in Guangzhou four years ago, where we won the silver medal for the first ever time.
“It will be my last Asiad and I vow to give my best to help Malaysia finish in the best position,” added Kumar, who left for South Korea on Wednesday with the national team on a five-day playing tour.
Malaysia will play two friendlies against clubs sides Incheon City and National Korean Sports University (NKSU) on Friday and Saturday in Incheon in preparation for the Asiad.
For the Asiad, Malaysia are in Group A with South Korea, Bangladesh and Singapore while Group B comprises defending champions Pakistan, arch rivals India, Oman and Sri Lanka.
Kumar, a Tenaga Nasional employee, expects a tough challenge from South Korea and Japan for a place in the semi-finals.
Malaysia lost to South Korea 3-1 in the Champions Challenge I in Kuantan in April and 1-0 to Japan in the Asian Champions Trophy in Kakamigahara last November.