SEMENYIH: Kuala Lumpur SEA Games martial arts gold medallists – Loh Jack Chang (wushu); M. Mathivani and Syakilla Salni Jefry Krisnan (karate) – are hoping to get a chance to shine at the Jakarta Asian Games next August.
The 30-year-old Jack Chang, who won two golds at the SEA Games for the first time – in taijijian (taiji sword) and compulsory taijiquan – hopes to get his act right in his third Asiad outing.
“I’ve returned home empty-handed from two Asian Games. I want to end my medal drought,” said the Master in Business Administration graduate from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).
“It’s been a year of mixed fortunes for me. I did well to win two gold medals at the KL Games but none at the World Championships.
“My knee injury has flared up again, but I am recovering. I hope to win my first Asiad medal.”
For Syakilla, however, it’s about winning a second Asiad gold. This time it’s in a lower weight category.
“I won the 2014 Asian Games gold (in the Under-65kg) in Incheon. It’ll be quite competitive at the Jakarta Asiad because I’ll be fighting in the below 55kg category. That’s going to be challenging,” said the 25-year-old.
“It’s been an interesting year for me. I started poorly after undergoing an elbow surgery. I missed many competitions. I returned and won a bronze at the Asian Championships and then came the KL Games success.
“I also have another goal next year – the World Championships. No one from Malaysia has won a world title in karate. I also want to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games.”
As for teacher Mathivani, she is dreaming of a golden Asian debut after helping Malaysia beat Vietnam 2-1 to clinch the women’s team kumite gold at the KL Games.
“It’s been a year of blessing for me. It’s hard to juggle between teaching and sports, but my success at the KL Games showed me that I can do it,” said the 26-year-old, who has been with the national team since 2007.
“I’m all fired up to qualify for my first Asian Games.”
All three – Syakilla, Mathivani and Jack Chang – joined hands to make a difference for underprivileged children at the Desa Amal Jireh in Semenyih yesterday.
They were joined by other national athletes – Amy Kwan (rhythmic gymnasts), R. Sharmendran (karate), Ng Sock Khim (table tennis), Ilyas Chang (ice hockey) and footballers K. Gurusamy, K, Reuben and J. Christie.
Said Syakilla: “It was a joy to help others in need. I come from a poor family and I know how difficult it can be.
“I know how it feels when someone out there cares and is willing to give you a hand. It’s great that all the athletes can play their part for the needy children here.”