KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — The national kumite squad feel they are primed for hitting the three-gold target set by the Malaysian Karate Federation (Makaf) at the Hanoi SEA Games.
National kumite coach R. Puvaneswaran said the squad are continuing to train during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri period and are determined to put up a strong performance in Hanoi.
He said they were focusing on tactics and strategy and honing their skills in a bid to remain as the karate powerhouse in the biennial games.
“We are also working on improving our strengths and rectifying our weaknesses which were exposed at the Southeast Asian Karate Federation (SEAKF) championship in Cambodia at the end of March.
“From there, we can see whether competitors from other countries may pose a threat to our medal target. We will study and come up with a plan to compete with them,” he said when met at a training session recently.
Puvaneswaran, a two-time Asian Games champion, said Makaf did not name any particular exponents as their gold medal hopes to avoid putting extra pressure on them.
“We have a good team, but performance on that day is very important. We can be heroes in training but it counts for nothing if we cannot cope with the pressure and mental stress during competitions.
“We are capable of achieving more (exceed target) if our athletes are at their best on competition day,” he said.
He said the three gold medallists from the last games in the Philippines – R. Sharmendran (men’s under 75kg), S. Prem Kumar (men’s under 55kg) and P. Madhuri (women’s under 55kg) – and H. Sureeya Sankar, V. Kueggen and C. Shahmalarani, who excelled at the SEAKF meet, could be relied on to deliver the goods in Hanoi.
In the 2019 edition, Malaysia topped the karate competition by winning four gold and four silver medals, with three golds and two silvers contributed by kumite exponents.
The SEA Games karate competition will be held from May 18 to May 20.