KATA SQUAD GAIN CONFIDENCE
Good outing in Rotterdam a boost ahead of Sea Games
THE national kata squad can look to the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games with increased confidence after a string of fine performances in their maiden outing of the year in Rotterdam last week.
The men’s kata team returned with a bronze from the Karate1 Premier League meet while 2014 Asian Games gold medallist Lim Chee Wei, Thomson Hoe and Celine Lee reached the quarter-finals of the individual events in fields of about 100 exponents.
It could have turned out even better had the kata trio of Thomson, Ivan Oh and Emmanuel Leong not lost a 3-2 split decision against Indonesia in the semi-finals.
However, national kata coach Ku Jin Keat, Chee Wei’s predecessor as Asian Games kata gold medallist, played down the defeat to Indonesia.
“There were a number of issues there which I prefer not to discuss,” said Jin Keat, likely referring to the split decision result.
“But based on our team’s performance alone, I thought they did quite well. Definitely by the time the Sea Games comes around, we’ll be ready.”
Jin Keat also praised the performances of the kata exponents in the individual events with the team trio also joining Chee Wei in the former category.
Thomson nearly took the shine off Chee Wei by reaching the lasteight though Jin Keat said the latter’s spot for the Sea Games individual kata event is not at risk.
“There are no restrictions to the number of entries in the Premier League meets so we decided to register all four exponents in the individual events,” Jin Keat told Timesport yesterday.
“This is to allow them to gain experience although I have already decided that Chee Wei will compete in the Sea Games individual event and the rest in the team event.”
Celine’s performance also earned Jin Keat’s praise though she was unlucky to run into World No 2 Kiyou Shimizu of Japan in the quarter-finals before having her medal hopes ended by World No 1 Sandra Sanchez of Spain in the penultimate repechage round.
“Considering who she lost to, I am satisfied with her performance,” added Jin Keat. “Although everyone wants to win gold at the Sea Games, nothing is guaranteed.”