THE stage is set for a golden harvest when Malaysia host the Sea Games silat competition in Johor Baru next month.
Although our best haul so far was four gold at the 1989 Games in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian Silat Association (Pesaka) are confident they can meet their target of eight gold from 21 events in KL 2001.
Pesaka secretary Megat Zulkarnain Omardin said the exponents who would compete in 10 men's combat categories, six women's and five under the silat seni (the kata version of silat) are capable of exceeding the target but it is best to keep the target at eight, at least officially.
Megat Zulkarnain said the national team, who are currently training in Johor Baru, will be stepping up their preparations and those in the combat categories would go for an eight-day training stint in Vietnam from next week.
Those for silat seni would train in Indonesia for five days.
He said Pesaka chose these countries because it would provide the best environment for the respective branches of silat.
"Vietnam are the best in combat due to their fighting spirit. This is something we want our exponents to emulate. Indonesia are better in silat seni and we will train with their national team in this," he said.
Five national silat exponents have been picked by Megat Zulkarnain as the ones to watch in KL 2001.
These are 1995 Chiangmai gold medallist Ahmad Faisal Omar, who won the 2000 world championship silver, Brunei 1999 gold medallists Mohd Azrin Malik, Muhammad Zainal and Marwat Mad Rus and world silver medallist Rina Jordana Adnan, who is a newcomer to the squad.
In the past, the exponents to watch were world champions Azlinda Ahmad and Mohd Zakri Ibrahim but they have been dropped for disciplinary problems. However, the coaches reckon the squad have more than one able replacements.
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