EUROPEAN Pencak Silat champions, the Netherlands are confident of winning a minimum of four gold medals at the 12th World Silat Championship at the Penang International Sports Arena (Pisa) in Relau, Penang beginning today.
The strong eight-man and two women squad arrived last Saturday and immediately got down to training at the competition venue. Netherlands' coach Johann Davids said the last time they won gold was four years ago in Jakarta, Indonesia where they managed two gold medals.
"Alfred Neef, who had won the gold four years ago is competing in this tournament and is a good bet for the gold in the 80kg category," said Davids.
"The chances of our team performing well is very good as they all are well prepared and ready for challenge.
"Most of the martial arts exponents have experience in competing in the World Championship and are prepared for anything," added Davids after a training session at Bukit Jambul in Penang on Thursday.
Davids said the sport is very popular and has many followers in the Netherlands because there are many Indonesians there who promote the martial art. There are more than 50 clubs with more than 1,500 registered exponents and maybe another 5,000 unregistered.
As proof of their seriousness, Davids revealed that parents and friends of the exponents and a host of supporters will be flying to Penang to lend their support.
The Dutch team comprises Orio Ruys (60kg), Roy Jozefzoon (65kg), Jan van Houten (70kg), Martijn Houwerzijl (75kg), Alfred Neef (80kg), Ronald Roolvink (85kg), Klaas Dupon (90kg) and Bauke van Houten. The women exponents are Sarena de Thomis (55kg) and Petra Postmus (60kg). Roy Smith is the team manager and he is assisted by Frans Veetman and coaches Johann Davids and Julian Langitan. A total of 350 exponents from 26 countries will compete in the championship which ends on Dec 21.
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