The solitary kata spot in the Asiad team will go to either Myanmar SEA Games double gold medallist Lim Chee Wei (pic) or two-time Asian champion Leong Tze Wai. - Filepic
PETALING JAYA: With the Incheon Asian Games just 129 days away, the Malaysian karate exponents are ready to kick their preparations into high gear.
Malaysian Karate Federation (Makaf) have lined up various tournaments starting with the China International Karate Open in Yichang from May 19-24.
They will face some of the same competitors they will meet in the Asian Games - namely their Central Asia counterparts Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan.
“We heard that most of the Central Asian countries will be sending their best fighters so we want to pit our exponents against them in the lead-up to the Asiad,” said Makaf honorary secretary Vincent Chen.
“Most of the countries are looking at the competition as their first round preparation and for us it’s no different. Going up against them in China will give us a good indication of what we can expect in South Korea.”
The squad will also compete in two other competitions - the Karate 1 Premier League competition in Okinawa (Aug 30-31) and Istanbul (Sept 6-7).
Makaf have set a target of one gold for the Asian Games. Malaysia have managed to deliver medals at every Asiad since the introduction of karate in Hiroshima in 1994. In the last edition in Guangzhou in 2010, Malaysia bagged five medals - one gold each from Ku Jin Keat (men’s kata) and R. Puvaneswaran (men’s kumite 55kg), two silvers in the women’s kumite event via G. Yamini (61kg) and Jamaliah Jamaluddin (+68kg) and a bronze from Lim Lee Lee in the women’s kata.
“Picking the squad involves a lot of strategising. We’ve more or less decided on who should go. Sometimes it is not about who is the best-ranked fighter, but who is performing better at the time,” said Vincent.
The eight-member squad bound for the Asiad will likely comprise of four male exponents (one kata, three kumite) and four female kumite exponents.
The solitary kata spot will be handed to either Myanmar SEA Games double gold medallist Lim Chee Wei or two-time Asian champion Leong Tze Wai while the remaining three spots for the men’s kumite looks likely to be taken up by S. Senthil Kumaran (-61kg), R. Sharmendran (-67kg) and either Sharrma Jayaram (-75kg) or Mohd Hatta Mahamut (-84kg).
The four women should be Myanmar SEA Games women’s team kumite gold medallists Nisha Alagasan (-55kg), Nur Eleena Anis Abdul Malik (-50kg), Shakila Salni Jefry Krishnan and S. Shree Sharmini (-61kg).