JU­DOKAS READY TO BREAK GOLD DROUGHT

No cham­pion from Malaysia for 36 years

New Straits Times - - Sport -

RE­PORTS BY FADHLI ISHAK fadhli.ishak@nst.com.my

"It has been a very long time since we won gold, too long ac­tu­ally, and it is my hope that we can fi­nally achieve it this time," said Mar­jan.

"Farhan is dif­fer­ent, he has the abil­ity to vary his skills and tech­niques and keep his op­po­nents guess­ing. I be­lieve he has a very good chance to win the gold.

"Phys­i­cal strength is very im­por­tant in judo and he has a physique very well suited to this weight class. He is an in­ter­na­tional class ex­po­nent.

"He is well ex­pe­ri­enced and un­beaten in South­east Asia for quite a while.”

Farhan is a for­mer South­east Asia ju­nior cham­pion and also won bronze as a teen at the Sin­ga­pore Sea Games two years ago. At 21, he is now en­ter­ing the prime of his ca­reer.

Mar­jan, how­ever, added that it is get­ting harder to win a medal in the sport as many coun­tries are util­is­ing nat­u­ralised ju­dokas, even at Sea Games level.

"It (nat­u­ralised ex­po­nents) is com­mon now, Philip­pines, In­done­sia, Thai­land and Sin­ga­pore all have them. Many are from Ja­pan while there are also Ital­ian and Korean ex­po­nents com­pet­ing for them.

"Philip­pines, for ex­am­ple, will have Ja­panese ju­dokas com­pet­ing in five out of the six cat­e­gories here this year.

"There will also be a nat­u­ralised ex­po­nent (Philip­ine's Kei­sei Nakano) in Farhan's weight class. How­ever, I am con­fi­dent Mohd Farhan Uzair (right) and Nor Iz­zatul Fa­zlia train at Bukit Jalil re­cently.

he will be able to deal with him."

Mar­jan added that Nor Iz­zatul Fa­zlia Mo­hamad Tahir also has a good chance for gold in the women's un­der-78kg class. Fa­zlia, 21, had taken bronze at both the Sin­ga­pore

and Myan­mar (2013) games.

The squad re­cently spent two months train­ing with the Mon­go­lian na­tional team as part of their prepa­ra­tion for the games.

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