NAYPYITAW: Debutant S. Senthil Kumaran exacted sweet revenge to stun defending champion Donny Dharmawan of Indonesia in the final and clinch the gold medal in the men’s kumite below 60kg category at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium here.
Two months ago, the 21-year-old Malaysian lost 6-1 to Donny in the second round of the Islamic Solidarity Games in Palembang in October.
Eight exponents featured in Naypyitaw and Senthil faced a strong challenge from Brunei’s Mairul Mohammad before winning 4-2 in the quarter-finals.
He then had no problem eliminating Myanmar’s San Toe 3-0 in the semi-finals to set up a showdown against the experienced Donny, who is featuring in his fifth SEA Games.
But Senthil, who is from Dengkil, Selangor, showed no sign of fear and gave Donny a run for his money in the four-minute bout.
Both exponents failed to score a single point and it ended 0-0. Since there is no sudden death in kumite, it was then up to the judges to decide – and they awarded the gold to Senthil.
Senthil, who only joined the national team a year ago, was delighted with his golden debut.
“It was sweet revenge for me because Donny beat me in Palembang two months ago,” said Senthil, who won the bronze medal in the World League in Slovenia in March.
“I was confident of winning the gold as the pressure was on Donny to defend his gold.
“I gave my best in the final but just couldn’t collect any points. I was awarded the gold by the judges because I attacked more,” said Senthil.