KUALA LUMPUR: The third time could be the charm for taekwondo exponent Rozaimi Rozali as he seeks to end Malaysia’s eight-year gold medal drought in the SEA Games.
Rozaimi hopes that he does not get injured again as he heads into the last phase of preparation for the KL Games from Aug 19-30.
The 23-year-old made his Games debut in Myanmar with a bronze in men’s flyweight (54-58kg) in 2013.
Two years later he could only watch on television as his team-mates battled it out in Singapore. He was sidelined at the last minute after suffering a knee ligament injury.
“It was disappointing to be left out as I had prepared well for the Singapore Games.
“I see winning a SEA Games gold as the biggest achievement of my involvement in the sport and I’ve been working towards this for the last two years.
“I have moved to the featherweight (63-68kg) class because the coach feels that I stand a better chance at striking gold.
“Injuries are unavoidable in contact sports, but I pray that nothing really serious happens to me,” said Rozaimi, who will compete in the World Championships in Muju, South Korea, this weekend.
Taekwondo Malaysia (TM) view Rozaimi as the team’s brightest prospect for gold in the kyorugi (fighting) division.
“Rozaimi was named the best fighter during the Asean Taekwondo Championships in Perlis in March.
“He managed to beat the other exponents from the region to win the featherweight gold. We hope he can carry this form into the SEA Games,” said TM technical director R. Dhanaraj (pic).
Poomsae (non-sparring) mixed pair Yong Jin Kun-Yap Khim Wen also bagged gold at the Asean meet in Perlis and will be counted on to deliver again in August.
Malaysia last won a SEA Games taekwondo gold in Laos in 2009 through Chee Chew Chan (women’s below 80kg).