Monday, January 27, 2014

Hosts have final say

THE Malaysian Karate Federation (Makaf) says it has done all it can to ensure the sport is included in the 2015 Sea Games in Singapore.

Karate's fate, which like several other Olympic sports facing the chop, will be known on Feb 15 when the Sea Games Federation sports and rules committee meets to decide on the final list of sports to be held next year.

A high-powered delegation led by World Karate Federation (WKF) president Antonio Espinosa visited Singapore earlier last week to meet with officials from the Singapore National Olympic Council, Singapore Sports Council and Singapore Karatedo Federation (SKF).
Makaf secretary-general Vincent Chen, who was part of the delegation, said the decision now rests with Singapore and SGF.

"Makaf have exhausted all avenues and WKF has even offered technical help to the organisers. Now we can only wait for Feb 15 to find out if karate is in or not," said Vincent after Makaf's executive committee meeting on Saturday.

Internal issues and lack of activities by SKF is thought to be the main reason for karate's proposed exclusion.

Singapore did not compete in karate at the last Games in Naypyitaw last month when Malaysian exponents won seven gold medals to emerge as the region's top karate country.

Makaf president Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said even sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin has broached the subject with his Singaporean counterpart.

"The delegation asked the Singaporeans to reconsider their decision to exclude karate," said Mohd Ali. "We hope the decision they make will be a positive one.

"Sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin has lobbied his counterpart in Singapore and we hope that will have an effect on their decision.

"Whatever problems SKF face, it should not jeopardise karate's inclusion in the Sea Games. It is a very popular sport in the region and regularly delivers gold medals for Malaysia."

All eight countries which took part in karate in Naypyitaw won medals. Only Cambodia, Singapore and Timor Leste did not send competitors.

Since the sport's debut at the 1987 Sea Games, karate has only been dropped from the programme once -- in 1995 in Chiangmai, Thailand.

Vincent added that Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos and Philippines are fully behind Makaf's push to keep karate in the Sea Games.

"We hope the other Olympic committees of other Asean countries will put pressure on Singapore to include karate," he said.

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