Monday, June 09, 2014

National karate coach: No one caught my eye

KUALA LUMPUR: National elite karate coach Andris Vasiljevs was on a scouting mission at the recently-concluded Sukma in Perlis.

However, the Latvian, who began coaching the national side two years ago, returned to Kuala Lumpur empty handed.

Vasiljevs was specifically looking for talent in both the men’s and women’s heavyweight divisions, but confessed that nothing really caught his eye.

He said there were fewer talents this time compared to the last Sukma in Kuantan in 2012.
“When I arrived in Malaysia two years ago, the next day was the Sukma in Kuantan. I joined the officials to see the competition. If I need to compare the Sukma in Pahang and this one (Perlis) ... the only positive is that the fighting spirit is better this time,” said Vasiljevs.

“It’s a bit more competitive now. But there is a lack of successful attacks and the performance level have gone down. The spirit is there but the skills and understanding of the sport is not quite there yet,” he added.

After the Pahang Sukma, Vasiljevs included Senthil Kumaran Silvarajoo (below 60kg), S. Shree Sharmini (below 61kg) and Shakila Salni Jefry Krishnan ( below 68kg) in the national back-up squad. The trio went on to win golds in their respective categories at the Myanmar SEA Games last year.

However, there was no such luck this time for Vasiljevs.
“In karate, you can punch, kick and do take-downs. But in Perlis, there was not one take-down which was done correctly and precisely. We need to develop this area,” said Vasiljevs.

“These Under-21 Sukma exponents are not up to par yet. They have a long way to reach international standard ... there is a very big gap. They have a lot of work to do, like getting stronger physically and smarter technically and tactically.”



by Ashreena Pillai - The Star

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