PETALING JAYA: Malaysia will be represented in taekwondo at the Youth Olympic Games for the first time after Mohana Mariappen earned a berth at the qualifying tournament in Taipei.
The 17-year-old national back-up squad member reached the last eight in the women’s below 63kg category, but lost to Mahsa Jeddi of Iran.
Mohana had a bye in the first round and advanced to the last eight with a win over Kiwi exponent Renee Leyou.
The top quarter-finalists earned qualification for the Youth Olympic Games, which will be held in Nanjing in August.
Mohana was the only successful Malaysian exponent as five others - Jasmin Nabila Sikardi (women’s below 49kg), Goh Zhi Lin (women’s below 55kg), Mohd Alif Ahmad Rosli (men’s below 48kg), A. Navin (men’s below 55kg) and Khir Amir Salam (men’s below 73kg), were casualties in the early rounds.
The back-up exponents currently train under former SEA Games gold medallists Elaine Teo and S. Saravanan.
Taekwondo Malaysia technical chairman R. Dhanaraj said they have achieved their target of getting one exponent into the Youth Olympic Games.
”It was no easy feat to clear the early rounds as it is so competitive even at the junior level.
”This is a good start for taekwondo as we look towards rebuilding the national set-up.”