MALAYSIA will select their exponents to the SEA Games after the Asia Pacific Championships in Manila in early July.
National Silat Association (Pesaka) secretary Megat Zulkarnain Omar Din said the exponents might also travel to Vietnam and Holland for training stints in October, two months before the SEA Games.
Vietnam will host this year's SEA Games for the first time.
The Games will be held on Dec 1-15.
"So far, 10 countries have confirmed participation in the Asia Pacific Championships and we are expecting more entries before the end of the month," said Zulkarnain.
"The tournament is important to us as it will give our exponents a chance to gauge their standards ahead of the SEA Games.
"There are also plans to travel to Indonesia and Vietnam but until today, we have yet to get a reply from the Indonesians, so that trip looks to be out.
"The trip to Vietnam depends on the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome development but I think the tour to Holland will go on as planned." The Malaysian exponents are supposed to travel to Indonesia tomorrow but that looks unlikely.
Malaysia pulled out of the Belgium Open earlier this month because of the war in Iraq and the SARS outbreak.
That prevented them from much needed exposure ahead of the SEA Games and is another reason Pesaka are hoping the Asia Pacific Games are not cancelled or postponed.
At the last SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, the national exponents won a record five gold medals through Ismail Darus (category A), Mohd Azrin Abd Malek (I), Ahmad Faizal Omar (J), Mastura Sapuan (E) and silat seni women's duet Noorsyhidawati Abdullah Sani and Shalina Abdul Ghafar.
Their previous best performance in an international meet was four gold medals at the 1989 SEA Games.
Indonesia finished with nine gold medals and Vietnam six two years ago while Singapore with one gold was the only other country to win a title.
Pesaka are hoping to emerge champions in the silat competition this time round and have conducted various training programes to ensure the exponents deliver.
Written by GRAIG NUNIS
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