December 18, 2016, Sunday
KUCHING: The Sarawak Muaythai Association (PMNS) has selected three local muaythai exponents to undergo intensive training in Thailand next year.
PMNS president Jumaat Ibrahim said the selection criteria of Ayu Arynafa’iza Azmi, Pratasarthee Punniyamoorthy and Shafiq Rushidi were based on their achievements so far and also their potential in winning gold medals for the country.
Ayu Arynafa’iza, 20, is already a seasoned fighter with an impressive resume, which includes a Malaysia Games 2013 silver medal and the Women’s 45-48kg championship title at this year’s National Amateur Muaythai Championship in Kuala Lumpur.
Fifteen-year-old Pratasarthee was the national Pro Belt champion at the Muaythai and Martial Arts Tournament 2015 in Perlis while in September this year, he finished third under the 14-15 Age Group at the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur (IFMA) Youth World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand.
Shafiq, 14, clinched the Junior title at the inaugural National Inter-Club Muaythai Championships in Subang last year but before that, he was the Junior Boys 42kg champion at IFMA World Championships 2014 in Langkawi.
“The three are among Sarawak’s young and bright prospects in muaythai. I hope they would continue to work hard and inspire more Sarawak youths to strive for excellence on the national and international stage.
“Their passion and dedication are also a tribute to the efforts by PMNS in bringing Sarawak muaythai to greater heights,” said Jumaat during an appreciation dinner on Friday hosted by the association at Kuching Civic Centre Youth Hall where Youth, and Sports and Solidarity Ministry permanent secretary Kameri Affandi and state Youth and Sports Department (JBS) director Abdul Harris Ishak were also present.
On the appreciation dinner, Jumaat said the event was meant as recognition to the contributions by various stakeholders towards the development of muaythai in the state.
That night, PMNS presented tokens of appreciation to the ministry, JBS Sarawak, the state Health and Education departments, several non-governmental organisations, as well as to state muaythai coaches and nine young state exponents including Ayu Arynafa’iza, Shafiq and Pratasarthee.
However, Pratasarthee could not attend that night as he is currently undergoing training in Kuala Lumpur.
A special award was also presented to Ayu Arynafa’iza’s father Azmi Karim, whose six out of nine children are all state muaythai athletes.
Azmi, 42 – a former state boxer – said he and his wife Arni Yusnita Kachi could not be happier in seeing their children excel in the sport that they all loved.
“I am proud of my children not only because they are doing very well in muaythai, but also becoming good role models for other youths. I will continue to support them in their undertakings,” said a beaming Azmi.