KUCHING: The state taekwondo team celebrated Sarawak Day by retaining their overall title on the final day of competition at the Sarawak Indoor Stadium in Petra Jaya yesterday.
They collected two more gold medals through Rebecca John Nedek and Monica Sharma Sanjeev Kumar for a total haul of eight gold, three silver and three bronze medals to top other states in the sport.
In a thrilling final, Rebecca and Terengganu’s Nur Ili Athirah Sharuddin were tied for points 0-0 in the first round, 5-5 in the second and 6-6 in the third.
However Rebecca scored a direct hit on her opponent’s head in the golden points round for three points to win the match and clinch Sarawak’s first gold for the day.
That victory virtually handed the overall taekwondo championship for host state as Sarawak’s number one taekwondo fan – the chief minister’s wife Datin Patinggi Dato Jamilah Anu – and Sarawak Taekwondo Association president Mohd Salleh Sani jumped for joy with Sarawak supporters.
Monica’s win over her challenger from Sabah Christina Clara proved equally suspenseful in the first round as she led narrowly 5-4 and then 7-4.
By the end of the second round, Monica was able to move 11-5 ahead and she turned defensive in the final round to wrap up a 13-7 victory for Sarawak’s other gold.
Earlier in the semi-final against Nur Fasha Qistina Shaharuddin of Terengganu, Monica had won by the referee’s decision on her aggressiveness after she was tied 4-4 in the golden points round.
“Overall, I am very satisfied because we won two more gold medals today. We achieved MSNS target of five golds and our association’s target of eight golds,” Salleh said after the prize presentation
The team’s performance was a big improvement from the last Sukma in Perlis two years ago where they won four gold and three silver.
The state exponents had trained in Bangkok, Thailand and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for six months as part of their preparations for Sukma.