OUT TO IMPRESS
categories which remain open.
These include the men’s kumite below-67kg event where former Sea Games gold medallist Shaharudin Jamaludin is looking to book a berth.
Shaharudin, who won gold in 2011 in Jakarta and has three silver and three bronze medals from four previous Sea Games appearances, is hoping to earn selection by successfully defending his national title.
“I’m excited to have a chance at qualifying for the Sea Games and I know I will have to do well at the National Championships,” Shaharudin, 29, who was sidelined with a shoulder injury for nearly two years after the 2013 Sea Games, told Timesport yesterday.
“Many of the competitors here are in good shape while I still need to improve physically. But technically I’m good and that was how I won last year.”
It is effectively a straight fight between Hayashi Ha’s Shaharudin and R. Govinash of Shorin-Ryu for the below-67kg spot.
However, neither fighter did their cause for the Sea Games any good at the Southeast Asian Karate Championships earlier this month when they lost in their opening bouts to Vietnamese opposition.
This means whoever wins the national title this weekend stands a good chance of competing at the Sea Games when the Malaysian Karate Federation’s (Makaf) selection committee meets next week.
“The Sea Games squad practically picks itself but there are a couple of categories where we still have vacancies,” said Makaf secretary-general Vincent Chen.
“The National Championships will be the final chance for those borderline cases and the winners will have a good chance of being selected.”
The other category still open for selection is the women’s over68kg where Hayashi Ha’s Nastenka Sureshar, the 2015 Commonwealth Championships winner in the Under-21 below-61kg event, will be biding to win the event after launching a crowdfunding drive to support her sporting ambition.
Meanwhile, the senior exponents came up empty-handed at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Azerbaijan when the karate competition was held last weekend.
Only R. Sharmendran (men’s below-75kg) and women’s kata exponent Celine Lee reached the semi-finals of their respective events before falling in the final bronze medal repechage, a fate which was also met by 2014 Asian Games kata gold medallist Lim Chee Wei.
Syakilla Salni Jefry Krishnan’s comeback from elbow surgery ended prematurely in the women’s below-55kg while S. Senthil Kumaran (men’s below-60kg) and S. Shree Sharmini (women’s below-50kg) were also ousted early.
The 2014 Asian Games kata gold medallist Lim Chee Wei failed to reach the final at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Azerbaijan last weekend.