KATA SQUAD GAIN CON­FI­DENCE

Good out­ing in Rot­ter­dam a boost ahead of Sea Games

New Straits Times - - Sport - DEVINDER SINGH devinder@nst.com.my

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.”

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