PETALING JAYA: Malaysia will bank on debutants Syed Adam Emir Putra and Ahmad Syukran Shahir to step up to the plate following the retirement of Olympic sabre fencer Yu Peng Kean (pic) for the KL SEA Games from Aug 19-30.
The 26-year-old Peng Kean, whose best achievement was qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics on merit, has consistently delivered medals at the SEA Games.
The Melaka fencer helmed the team to a gold in Jakarta 2011 and also won two individual bronze medals in 2011 and Singapore 2015.
But Peng Kean called it quits in February after struggling with multiple injuries to both knees and switched to private coaching.
National fencing coach Rao Bin is confident that Syed Adam, 18, and Syukran, 20, can fill the void vacated by Peng Kean.
“It’s definitely a blow losing the services of Peng Kean,” said Rao Bin, who specialises in sabre.
“Without him, the odds of our sabre fencers winning a gold is much lower. The epee and foil fencers definitely have a better chance for gold.
“Syed Adam and Syukran have the technique and skill, but they lack high-level experience.
“They’ve shown good progress in the last two months, so I hope they can hold their own against experienced opponents.”
Syed Adam and Syukran left for Guangzhou yesterday for a month-long training stint.
The trio of Joshua Koh I-Jie (epee) and women foil specialists Natasha Ezzra Abu Bakar and Tyanne Fong are also training overseas – in South Korea – in preparation for the KL 2017.