PETALING JAYA: Coach R. Puvaneswaran is expecting bigger things from the national back-up squad after their creditable showing at the 4th South-East Asia Karate-Do Federation Championships in Laos.
Malaysia took home six golds, seven silvers and 11 bronze from the competition last week. Of the total, the kumite exponents claimed two golds, five silvers and 11 bronzes.
As only three exponents – Prem Kumar, A. Soman Roy and Priya Shankari – were from the national elite squad, Puvaneswaran was impressed to see the nine boys and seven girls holding their own to bag one gold, four silvers and 11 bronzes.
What makes their achievement more impressive is that the exponents only joined the national side after the National Cadet, Junior & U-21 Karate Championships last month.
He hopes they’ll bring that spark and spunk to the World Junior & Cadet and U-21 Championships in Jakarta from Nov 12-15.
“Considering that they only just joined the back-up team and underwent a six-day centralised training before the competition, I’d say I’m very happy with what they achieved,” said Puvaneswaran.
“We had seven exponents in the finals and they won two golds and seven silvers ... the boys also won the team kumite gold. That’s a great start for their first competition this year.”
Prem, who was recently promoted to the elite squad, delivered the gold in the men’s below 55kg and led M. Aravindran, Pubathi Ravendran, A. Levenesswaran, C. Rajkumar and S. Sharventharan to the men’s team gold.
In the girls’ category, Yasseny Ganesan (above 59kg), C. Shahmalarain (under 48Kg), R. Prevena (under 53Kg) delivered the silver along with Pubathi in the boys’ under 60kg. National elite A. Soman Roy also delivered silver in the boys under 76kg.
“Pubathi and Aravindran were both impressive. Pubathi won silver and Aravindran the bronze (boys’ under 75kg) and together with Prem, they did really well to win the team kumite gold,” said Puvaneswaran.
“To win the team kumite title is a huge achievement for them ... hopefully, they can take that with them into the world meet in November.”
Malaysia’s other medals came in the kata discipline. The gold medals were won by Ariana Lim Jun Yi (girls’ kata); Ivan Oh Theng Wei (men’s kata); Thor Chee Yee, Celina Lee Xin Yi and Khaw Yee Voon (women’s team kata); and Leong Tze Wai, Hoe Thomson and Emmanuel Leong (men’s team kata).
Howart Tan Jia Jie took silver in the boys’ junior kata, as did Thor Chee Yee in the women’s senior category.