PETALING JAYA: Hosts Terengganu will be counting on the pencak silat pair of Kamilah Sulong and Maslina Zakaria to win them honours in the Sukma (Malaysia Games), which will be held in Terengganu from May 31-June 9.
The two girls hail from the same Kampung Jeram Manir in Kuala Terengganu and also studied together in the same school – SM Kebangsaan Belara - and know each other very well.
And it is because of their familiarity Terengganu will be banking on them to deliver and meet the team's 4-4-4 medal tally target.
The pair are on a hot streak after winning four titles since being paired up after the last Sukma in Kedah two years ago where Terengganu managed only one gold.
On current form the duo will be the pair to beat in the Puteri Ganda event – as Kamilah and Maslinda are unbeaten since their partnership began two years ago.
Their winning streak began with the Kelantan Open in 2006. Last year they won in the Sukan Wanita (Women’s Games) and the Pesta Penang Open championships. Their latest success was in February this year when they walked away with the title in the Teluk Danga International Games in Johor Baru.
Chief coach Alias Abas speaks highly of the duo as they aim for a 4-4-6 tally in pencak silat – which offers 23 golds, 23 silvers and 38 medals in the 10-day sports carnival.
“Kamilah and Maslinda are in good form. They have four titles to their credit and I am confident they will bag their fifth,” said Alias.
“More importantly they are an inspiration to the rest of the team. Our silat squad have been in training since September 2006. The team spirit is fantastic. We are raring to go and put up a good show in front of the home crowd.”
This is the first Sukma for Maslinda, who is “very excited” to make her debut in the biennial games in front of her home fans.
But for Kamilah, the Sukma means a lot to her after making her debut in Kedah two years ago. Incidentally, she made her debut not in pencak silat but represented the state in karate where she competed in the kata event. Kamilah failed to land a medal in Kedah after being beaten by a Sabahan in the quarter-finals.
But she has put that disappointment behind her. Switching to silat has paid dividends and Kamilah has not looked back after pairing up with Maslinda.
“Despite my failure to win a medal in Kedah, it was still an eventful outing for me. The experience gained from my first Sukma will stand me in good stead. Maslinda and myself come from the same kampung and we studied in the same school.
“We are very close ... more like sisters. We have trained very hard for this year’s Sukma and hopefully we can deliver the goods in front of our home fans,” said Kamilah.