Monday, August 11, 2014

KARATE: Trio bag team gold

1 year of regimented training and perseverance paid off handsomely for a trio of national junior kata exponents after bagging the boys’ team gold at the Asian Under-21, Junior and Cadet Karate Championships which ended in Cheras yesterday.

Ivan Oh, Howart Tan and Ooi San Hong defeated Kuwait in the final to end the three-day championships with Malaysia’s second gold medal after Khavin Raj won the first on Friday in the boys’ cadet kumite below-52kg.

For 14-year-old San Hong, a St Xavier’s Institution student, it was his second medal of the meet having earlier won bronze in the cadet individual kata event.
All three hail from Penang and train under former national kata exponent Lim Lee Lee, who spent a year whipping the boys into gold medal material.

“We are very happy to have won,” said Howart, 16, who like Ivan, 17, go to Chung Ling High School in Butterworth, at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium yesterday. “We trained for a year to prepare for this tournament and we wanted nothing less than the gold medal.”

Ivan added: “We hope to win gold at the World (Junior) Championships next year. We want to go higher and that is our target.”

Malaysia’s haul of two gold, three silver and eight bronze medals to finish fourth in the medal tally was a significant improvement from last December in Dubai when the juniors returned without a medal.

Iran claimed top spot with 13 gold, five silver and six bronze, ahead of Japan (9-9-5) and Kazakhstan (2-3-9).

J. Theebanah came so close to winning Malaysia’s third gold medal yesterday only to lose the girl’s Under-21 kumite above 68kg final after judges awarded the bout to Iran’s Najafi Ghaghelestani Bhenoosh following a 1-1 draw.

“I’m happy with the performances although we could have got more than one kumite gold,” said national kumite back-up squad coach R. Puvaneswaran.

Two other silver medals came from A. Somanroy in boys’ junior kumite below 76kg and R. Pubathi in the boys’ junior kumite below 68kg.


By DEVINDER SINGH - NST

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