Shar­men­dran bulks up for gold

New Straits Times - - Sport -

IN a bid to land his first Sea Games gold medal, na­tional karate ex­po­nent R. Shar­men­dran has packed on the pounds to boost his chances in Kuala Lumpur later this month.

Shar­men­dran made the move up to the be­low-75kg cat­e­gory only this year af­ter win­ning sil­ver in the be­low-67kg event at the 2013 Sea Games in Naypyi­daw, where the sport was last held. The 25-year-old Shar­men­dran has had to adapt quickly in a mat­ter of months to his new event and be­come ac­cus­tomed to fight­ing heav­ier and big­ger op­po­nents.

The tran­si­tion has not al­ways been easy as he won only two matches in three Karate1 Pre­mier League out­ings in Paris, Rot­ter­dam and Dubai.

But Shar­men­dran is now ready for his gold medal as­sault af­ter reach­ing the Asian Cham­pi­onships semi-fi­nals in As­tana, Kaza­khstan last month and win­ning a bronze medal.

"This is my sec­ond Sea Games. In Myan­mar, I was 21 at the time and it was my first ex­pe­ri­ence but I got two sil­ver, in the team and in­di­vid­ual," said Shar­men­dran, ranked 52nd in the world.

"This year has been good af­ter mov­ing up a cat­e­gory from 67kg to 75kg. It took time for me to adapt be­cause it is a heav­ier cat­e­gory and my op­po­nents are big­ger.

"It's a to­tally dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion be­cause I knew ev­ery­one in 67kg cat­e­gory but in the new event I have to study my op­po­nents again."

Shar­men­dran is con­fi­dent of win­ning gold when the karate com­pe­ti­tion takes place on Aug 22-24 at the Kuala Lumpur Con­ven­tion Cen­tre af­ter his suc­cess at the South­east Asian Cham­pi­onships in Port Dick­son last year dur­ing a brief foray into the be­low-75kg event.

"I won at 75kg gold in Port Dick­osn and per­form­ing well at the Asian Cham­pi­onships was a good sign for me," said Shar­men­dran.

"I hope to bring that form to the Sea Games. I won't take it easy, ev­ery­one comes here to fight and they won't make it easy for us to win. We're at home, we have to prove it and go all out. Noth­ing less than gold is ac­cept­able and I will do my best. But I can­not be over­con­fi­dent."

A World Cup win­ner in 2014, Shar­men­dran's con­fi­dence has been boosted by de­feat­ing Ja­pan's World No 15 Ken Nishimura 1-0 in As­tana be­fore los­ing on count­back in the semi­fi­nals against Bah­man As­gari Ghoncheh of Iran.

"It was not easy beat­ing the Ja­panese who has won sev­eral Karate1 Pre­mier League ti­tles," said Shar­men­dran.

"I stuck to the plan and fol­lowed the coach's in­struc­tions. In the semi-fi­nals, I was down 3-0 and then came back to 3-3 but un­der the new rules who­ever scored first will be de­clared the win­ner (in the event of a tie)."

R. Shar­men­dran (left) and M. Mathivani are bent on win­ning gold for Malaysia

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.