KORYO Taekwondo Club (Koryo) emerged overall champions of the 14th Nestle Koko Krunch Junior Taekwondo Championship 2019 after winning seven gold medals in the competition featuring 19 clubs.
It was a narrow win for the club which edged out second-placed Smart Sathia by just one gold medal to make it the 13th title for the club.
Koryo also managed to bag nine silver and 25 bronze for a total medal haul of 41 to take home the Tunku Imran Challenge Trophy in the highly anticipated annual Under-12 competition.
Team coach Muhammad Nabil Mohd Akabar said it was a challenging 14th edition for the team after participating in another competition just a week earlier.
“The students had to recover quickly to prepare for this year’s grand final but their performance has been remarkable.
“We have been consistent in maintaining our record at the Koko Krunch Championships but we are always trying to improve our teaching methods for our students.”While the competition serves as a platform for young talents at the grassroots level to get a first taste of competitive taekwondo, the quality of exponents entering the competition has been on the rise.
The grand final was the culmination of the championship which saw 1,783 budding talents from earlier legs in the northern, central east coast and southern regions.
Each of the 354 budding exponents, coming off from the earlier legs as medal winners, demonstrated their prowess throughout the one-day competition.
There were 115 participants from the central region, 86 from the southern region, 96 from the northern region, 54 from the east coast region and three from Singapore.
The final two bouts during the closing ceremony showcased the talents of the 10-12 age group with Vanessa Laveenia Axton and Alya Humayraa Hairuddin in the Girl’s Fly category as well as Amsyar Hadi Ahmad Yazid and Kavinesh Subanthiran in the Boy’s Bantam Category.
Despite their young age, the juniors handled the pressure well and sparred with determination and displayed an adept level of gamesmanship.
“We launched the championship in 2006 with the aim of giving young taekwondo exponents an opportunity to get their first taste in competitive sport,” said Cereal Partners Asean business executive officer Laurent Therond.
“Since then, we have seen great results from our young participants. In fact, several exponents who took part in the competition have gone on to represent Malaysia on the international stage, including Rozaimi Rozali who was a gold medallist in the 2017 SEA Games.
“Sports plays a vital role in developing and nurturing young talent and we cannot deny that it inculcates lifelong values such as discipline, perseverance, courage and respect.
“Nestle Malaysia is fully supportive of the nation’s sports development and will continue our efforts to nurture a healthier nation, especially at the grassroots level,” he said.
Also present at the event was National Sports Council deputy director Suhadi Alias who presented the medals at the closing ceremony.
Suhadi said early exposure was crucial for the development of young athletes and the opportunity provided by the organisers aligned with the objectives of the Malaysian government.
“With strong support and structured programmes at the grassroots level, I am confident that Malaysia will continue to develop top-quality athletes who will make our nation proud,” he said.
Best performers - seven to nine years old
Boys: Eshan Jay Rubendran (Jagoh)
Girls: Nur Adreanna Maryssa (Sara)
Best performers - 10 to 12 years old
Boys: Amsyar Hadi Ahmad Yazid (Smart Stathia)
Girls: Vanessa Laveenia Axton (Koryo)
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