In Arivalagan and Kunasilan Makaf trust to get elite squad kicking

Reunion of sorts: L. Kunasilan used to train under P. Arivalagan (inset) when he was the former chief coach from 2004-2011. Now, the two have been entrusted with the task of preparing the national team for the Vietnam SEA Games in Hanoi in May and the Hangzhou Asian Games in September.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysia Karate Federation (Makaf) will put their hopes on two former Asian Games medallists P. Arivalagan and L. Kunasilan to chart the fortunes of the elite squad.

Makaf, in their executive committee meeting yesterday, made the bold decision to reshuffle the entire coaching line-up of the national kumite team.

Makaf deputy president Datuk Vincent Chen said they were putting their faith in the two former internationals to prepare the team for the Vietnam SEA Games in Hanoi in May and the Hangzhou Asian Games in September.

Arivalagan was the former chief coach from 2004-2011 but his contract was not renewed by Makaf as they opted for Latvian Andris Vasiljevs while Kunasilan was the 2006 Asian Games silver medallist in Doha.

“We have appointed Arivalagan as the technical director for the national squad,” said Vincent.

“He will be hands-on in all aspects of training. Besides planning the training for the high performance and back-up squads, Arivalagan will also be involved in the daily training process.

“We will also propose to bring in Kunasilan to assist Arivalagan in the high performance training.

“Kunasilan has graduated with a Sports Science degree and he has also expressed his interest in taking up the coaching role.

“He has won at the SEA Games and Asian Games stage before, so we would like to try him out with the national team.

“We had given the present coaches the time to produce results but the outcome had not been satisfactory, so we had to reshuffle.

“Time is running short as there are only a few more months left but this is a challenge for Arivalagan.

“In fact, some of the exponents who will be in the national team are also their former students,” said Vincent, who added that the proposals will be made to the National Sports Council (NSC) on Monday.

“We are sticking with local coaches rather than look for a foreigner as we understand the budget constraints with NSC.

“We hope NSC will also accept our proposals on the number of trainees in the national set-up (total of 25).”

With the reshuffle, current coaches S. Mahendran and Alex Arlanthu will be put in charge of the development squad.

As for Puvaneswaran, Makaf are leaving it to Arivalagan to decide whether he will remain with the high performance squad or go to the development.

Vincent also added former Asian Games gold medallist Syakilla Salni Jefry Krisnan is among the exponents who will be invited to join the high performance training programme.

“We have not talked to her directly but we plan to offer her a place,” he said.

“But there will be conditions set and our new technical director will see what role she can play in the national team if she agrees to join. It could be in the team event or as a sparring partner.”

Among the top exponents who will be retained are 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist Prem Kumar, R. Sharmendran, P. Madhuri, M. Mathivani and S. Khavinraj.

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