PETALING JAYA: National Muay Thai coach Bernard Radin will keep his cards close his chest in the pre-SEA Games competition at the Starling Mall this weekend.
The 45-year-old coach will field his second stringers in the competition, which will also be participated by exponents from Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.
“I heard the other countries are sending their second stringers as well, so we’ll do the same. I don’t want to risk our fighters getting injured. I also want to keep our fighters under wraps before the SEA Games,” said Bernard yesterday.
“We’ll observe the techniques of the fighters from the other countries as their second stringers are trained by the same coaches.
“I’ll also be looking at our back-up fighters’ performance. If they do well, I may include them in the final squad for the SEA Games.”
The Malaysian Muay Thai Association have set the team a two-gold target for the KL Games.
In Myanmar 2013, Malaysia competed in Muay Thai for the first time and returned with two golds and three bronzes. The sport was not contested in Singapore 2015.
Thirty-year-old Mohd Ali Yaakob is one of Malaysia’s two best bets for gold in the 54kg event. The other is 25-year-old Ain Kamarrudin (57kg).
With 45 days left to the Games, Bernard said that he’s working on getting his fighters mentally ready.
“Our fighters can win the gold if they follow the game plan. What worries me is how they’ll handle the pressure of fighting at home,” said Bernard.