PETALING JAYA: Taekwondo duo of Yong Jin Kun and Yap Khim Wen have raised the prospects of winning a first-ever medal in poomsae (non-sparring) at the Indonesia Asian Games in August following a stunning win in the US Open in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Jin Kun-Khim Wen struck the jackpot in the mixed pair event at the gambling haven on Tuesday to become the first Malaysian taekwondo exponents to climb the podium on American soil.
The duo earned 7.80 to beat Taiwan’s Huang Chia-juang-Lin Kan-yu to the gold medal. Mexico took the bronze.
Khim Wen also claimed bronze for Malaysia in the women’s individual poomsae event.
The 23-year-old was the women’s individual gold medallist at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games last August and partnered Jin Kun to also take silver in the mixed pair.
Taekwondo Malaysia (TM) technical director R. Dhanaraj said it is an encouraging performance for the duo, especially with the Asian Games in the calendar.
“The pair did well to win the gold medal considering the US Open is a very competitive championship with 2,500 participants from 30 countries.
“This win is a very good sign as the Asian Games organisers have agreed to include poomsae for the first time in Indonesia and I understand the mixed pair event will be one of the five contested,” said Dhanaraj.
The last time Malaysia won a medal at the Asian Games was in Busan in 2002.
Then, Malaysia bagged two bronze medals in kyorugi through Lee Wan Yuen (women’s above 72kg) and Lee Pei Fen (women’s below 63kg).
The 23-year-old Jin Kun is relishing the chance to contest for medals at the Asian Games stage.
“It will be a wide open contest and I believe we will get a better picture of our rivals when we compete in the Asian championships in Vietnam in May,” he said.