Malaysian kata team secure bronze in World Karate meet

The Malaysia kata team of (from left) Emmanuel Leong, Ricky Leong, Hoe Thomson, and coach Ku Jin Keat pose with the bronze medals won at the World Karate Championships in Bremen on Sunday.

PETALING JAYA: The men’s kata team capped a commendable outing for Malaysia after they claimed bronze at the World Karate Championships in Bremen.

The trio – Ricky Leong, Emmanuel Leong and Ho Thomson – defeated Turkey 4-1 in the playoff for bronze on Sunday for an unexpected second medal in the biennial meet following Syakilla Krisnan’s silver medal in the women’s kumite below 61kg final on Saturday.

The bronze, a first for Malaysia in the non-sparring discipline at world championship level, was a pleasant surprise considering Turkey had the upper hand after they sent defending champions Japan packing 5-0 in the quarter-finals before losing 2-3 to Egypt in the semis.

The Malaysian trio had only been training together for six months under former Asian Games gold medallist Ku Jin Keat and Lim Lee Lee.

The 21-year-old Thomson is the youngest of the three and was drafted in the team event after bagging two golds (individual and team) at the Perlis Sukma in May.

Emmanuel and Ricky had more experience, having tasted victory with Lim Chee Wei in the team kata event at the Myanmar SEA Games last year.

Chee Wei, however, participated in the individual where he reached the quarter-finals in the individual kata in the German city on Wednesday.

“We did not expect our team kata to do well as they were only going for exposure in the first place,” said Chee Wei, a gold medallist at the Asian Games in Incheon.

The kata team earlier had a bye in the first round. They defeated Austria 4-1 in the second round but went down 5-0 to Egypt in the quarter-finals.

The Malaysians defeated Kuwait 4-1 in the repechage to set up a meeting with the Turks.

Malaysia are one of three Asian countries after Japan and Iran to be on the medal standings.

Japan was the only country from Asia to produce a winner, through Ryuichi Tani in the kumite individual event.

The newcomer defeated reigning champion Luigi Busa of Italy in the men’s below 75kg.
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