Deaf karate team still short on funds to attend Iran meet


JOHOR BARU: With just over two weeks to go, a deaf karate team has only raised enough funds for flight tickets to the First World Deaf Karate Championship in Iran next month.

Malaysian Deaf Sports Association (MSDeaf) national karate coach V. Vicnesvaran said they had so far collected about RM33,000 via crowdfunding.

“While we are still short of about RM50,000, I am already thankful to Malaysians for their generosity and well wishes to our team,” he said yesterday.

“I know times are hard for everyone because of the pandemic as I even received a RM1 donation from a well-wisher.

“But I hope more people will come forward and help us raise the funds for the team’s other expenses such as lodging, food and pocket money during the event from Nov 18 to 25.”

Vicnesvaran, who is also president of the Persatuan Karate-Do Daerah Kulai Jaya, said 11 of them including eight participants would be attending the competition.

“I will go all out until the last day to collect as much money as possible for these students who are training up to 10 hours a day.

“They have put in a lot of effort and commitment to train for this championship and I don’t want to let them down,” he said.

The 45-year-old urged for more donors to come forward even for as little as RM1 each.

He stressed that if they missed this opportunity, the next tournament would only be in 2026.

Vicnesvaran said they were the only karate group with deaf and mute students in Malaysia.

“In fact, after seeing us compete internationally, some other countries in this region such as Sri Lanka, India, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia, and even Germany, have formed such karate teams,” he said, adding that next year they hoped to compete in the Deaf Olympics in Brazil in May.

The Star recently highlighted the team’s hopes of raising funds for the trip to Iran.

Vicnesvaran pointed out that although the competition was starting on Nov 18, they would leave on Nov 14 as they needed to take prior Covid-19 tests and prepare for the competition.

When they return, all of them will have to undergo a seven-day quarantine.

Vicnesvaran started a partnership with SMK Taman Sutera here four years ago when he was coaching a student there with special needs.

The student’s class teacher S. Johthi then suggested that they collaborate to form a club for deaf and mute students at the school.

Vicnesvaran said they used to have about 20 students but some dropped out due to health reasons and now he had nine students of all races under his charge.

Cheques can be made out to Persatuan Karate-Do Daerah Kulai Jaya and deposited into the association’s CIMB account 8010469737.

For details, e-mail Vicnesvaran at vicna@live.com.

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