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Thursday May 2, 2013

Tough task awaits karate exponents in Myanmar SEA Games

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s karate squad suffered a double blow when R. Loganesha Rao and Kam Kah Sam quit the national team last month – just seven months before this year’s SEA Games in Myanmar.

Malaysia Karate Federation (MKF) secretary general Vincent Chen said that 2011 SEA Games men’s kumite below 55kg gold medallist Loganesha, who is still undergoing rehabilitation for an unspecified injury, has yet to hand in his resignation letter while 23-year-old kata exponent Kah Sam cited studies as his reason for quitting.

“It’s definitely disappointing. “The first time they came to see me, I managed to talk them out of quitting. But three months later, they came back feeling the same way,” said Vincent.

“It’s their choice. There’s nothing much I can do if their heart is not in it.

“It’s going to be difficult as we still have some fighters still undergoing rehabilitation, like G. Yamini (knee) and K. Teagarajan (unspecified injury).”

Vincent, however, is pleased that the elite and back-up squads’ exponents are progressing well.

At the recent South-East Asian Championships in Manila, Malaysia bagged 11 golds, eight silvers and seven bronzes. Eight of the 11 golds came from the elite exponents while the back-up squad delivered the other three.

Malaysia’s biggest rivals in the region, Indonesia, have also improved tremendously over the years. In Manila, they garnered nine golds, five silvers and 10 bronzes and could pose a real threat to our exponents come December.

“We have a great pool of talent in the back-up squad. They’re just not mature enough to make the transition into the elite squad yet,” said Vincent.

“Unlike us, Indonesia have at least four exponents for each category.

That offers them the flexibility of fielding their strongest line-up at every event.

“That’s why it’s crucial that the National Sports Council (NSC) support the back-up programme ... we have a credible crop of youngsters who are capable of making the grade to the elite squad.

“Ideally, we’d like to be in the same position (as the Indonesians) and rotate our fighters ... switch things up and keep our opponents guessing.”

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