26 November 2003

Juliana to make her parents proud

RINA JULIANA comes from a family rich in silat background.

From her parents to her elder sister, all of them are into the sport.

Now, Rina and her elder sister, Rina Jordana, are the only two siblings in the Malaysian silat squad who will compete in the Vietnam Sea Games next month.

While Jordana will be competing in her third SEA Games, Juliana will be making her debut.

Jordana will compete in the silat olahraga category while Juliana will see action in silat seni.

The Sitiawan-born Juliana has a lot to prove to her coaches - who are also her parents - father Adnan Mohamed and Rosinah Jantan.

Her parents are instructors with Silat Lincah Malaysia and have high expectations on her to deliver a medal at the Sea Games.

"I owe it to my parents.

If not for them, I won't be where I'm now.

They brought me into the world of silat," said the 20-year-old Juliana.

"I want to emulate my sister's achievements who made her debut in the 1999 Brunei Sea Games." Juliana's first club was the Perak Silat Junior Association in 1999.

She represented the club in the National Junior championship in Pahang.

A year later, she was selected into the national junior squad and she competed in the World Junior Championship in Hanoi where she grabbed the silver medal.

Her determination finally paid off when she finally got called up into the senior team last year.

And Juliana, third in a family of six, proved that the national selectors made the right decision when she won a bronze medal during the World Championships in Penang.

It was Juliana's first competition in the silat seni category after previously competing in the silat olahraga.

She also won the gold medal when she represented Perak in Sukma last year.

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24 November 2003

Exponents capable, ready

MALAYSIA did the unprecedented when they emerged as silat overall champions in the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games two years ago.

They capped it off with a memorable five-gold finish, a feat which silat exponents had never ever achieved before.

The exponents will be defending their respective titles next month in Hanoi, Vietnam, next month and the onus is on them to try and repeat the historic feat two years ago.

Prior to their record haul in 2001, Malaysia's best was three gold medals and the worst was in the 1997 Games where they finished without a gold.

And there are grave doubts if the national silat exponents can match their last haul of five gold medals.

This is due to the fact that over the last two years some of the countries have improved tremendously in the categories to be contested.

The Malaysians, however, are not about to be upset.

Team spirit is running high in camp and their focus remains on gold.

It doesn't matter if they will not enjoy the support they did in Kuala Lumpur.

However, coach Ahmad Khusairi Ibrahim is not too worried about the tough competition his exponents have to face, and believes they are capable of handling themselves.

In fact, the coach is drawing confidence from the presence of a number of exponents whom he has retained from the KL Games.

Among those expected to retain their titles are Azrin Malek, Mastura Sapuan, Mohamed Zubir Ismail and Mohamed Amin Saadon.

Mohamed Zuber and Mohamed Amin's efforts in winning silver medals in last year's World Championships should be, if anything, comforting and are worth gold in Vietnam.

Then there's the silat seni duo of Nooryhidawati Abdullah Sani and Shalina Abdul Ghafur who are also prospects for gold.

They are among the 10 men and nine women exponents under Ahmad Khusairi's wings. and Ahmad Khusairi believes he has a quality squad capable of delivering the glitter.

To ensure they are well prepared, the Malaysians had been to Vietnam and Myanmar for tournaments earlier this year as part of their preparations.

Written by LEE KENG FATT
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23 November 2003

Pesaka target four gold medals

THE National Silat Association (Pesaka) are confident of winning four gold medals in next month's SEA Games.

Pesaka president Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib said this after hosting a breaking of fast ceremony for the national exponents.

Two years ago, Malaysia won five golds - their best ever achievement in an international tournament.

Muhammad, however, cautioned the exponents to be on their toes as it will not be easy in Vietnam.

"The fact remains Vietnam are the No.

1 silat country in the world," he said.

"I expect them to win the bulk of the medals, especially since they are the hosts.

"As such, I don't expect an easy outing for our exponents.

Having said that, I believe we can win at least four gold medals." The exponents earmarked for gold are Mastura Sapuan, Mohd Azrin Abd Malek and Ahmad Shahril Zailuddin (silat olahraga) and the silat seni duo of Shalina Abd Ghaffar-Norsyahidahwati Abdullah Sani.

Azrin is gunning for his third consecutive gold medal while Shahril is the reigning world champion.

Both Mastura and Shalina-Norsyahidahwati will look for their second SEA Games title.

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Don't fear your rivals, Muhammad tells exponents

Malaysian Silat Federation (Pesaka) president Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib announced a four-gold medal target for the Sea Games.

Muhammad also told the silat exponents, during `Buka Puasa' in Shah Alam on Friday, that they must compete without fear although they will be competing in Vietnam, who are ranked World No 1, ahead of Indonesia and Malaysia, ranked second and third respectively.

In the 2001 KL Sea Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia won five gold, one silver and four bronze medals.

Pesaka was to have announced its target earlier, but Muhammad was unable to meet the exponents to set the target because of personal commitments over the last few weeks.

"Our president told the athletes to compete without fear, to take up the challenge and aim for the best during the Sea Games," said Pesaka secretary Megat Zulkarnain Omar Din in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Megat Zulkarnain said the president expects three of the four gold medals to come from the silat olahraga or combat events and the other from the silat seni (demonstration) events.

"The president believes the target is achievable, considering the talent in the squad comprising a mix of seniors and juniors." World champion Ahmad Shahril Zainuddin and 2001 Sea Games gold medallist for the ganda puteri or doubles event Noorsyhidawati Abdullah Sani and Shalina Abdul Ghafar are expected to win gold once again. The duo clinched silver in last World Championships.

Mohamed Azmin Malik is also expected to win gold, which will be his third in a row, after winning in the 2001 and 1999 editions of the Sea Games.

The squad will have a three-day break for Hari Raya and will rejoin the Sea Games training camp at the National Sports Institute on Thursday.

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21 November 2003

Inseparable duo out to grace their way to gold

THEY have been together for five years, and know each other's moves by heart.

The silat seni duet of Noorsyhidawati Abdullah Sani and Shalina Abdul Ghafar will be out to grace their way to a gold medal in Vietnam, for they know the steps like the back of their hands.

"I started practicing silat seni while in primary school and it is now second nature to me. In the duet routine, one needs an equally strong partner and I have Noorsyhidawati to thank for when we won the gold medal in the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games," said Shalina.

Barely five feet, both will perform with a sword and a wooden bamboo in their dance routine - almost similar to the routines of wushu exponents.

Shalina revealed: "In our discipline, there is no contact so it is not dangerous. And when we are in competitions, we make believe that it is just another routine practice day, and with that attitude, we have always won medals at international meets." In the 1999 Brunei Sea Games, the duo won a silver which was upgraded to gold in Kuala Lumpur two years later, and in Vietnam, they are confident the judges will like their performance.

"It all boils down to how one feels on competition day. If the both of us are in good health, we are sure to impress the judges and stand to win a medal," said Noorsyhidawati.

Besides the Sea Games, the inseparable duo have won bronze in the 2000 Jakarta World Championships, and silver in the 2002 World Championships in Penang.

Silat has a hard act to follow in Vietnam, as the exponents will be hard-pressed to match the record five gold medals the contingent won in Kuala Lumpur in 2001.

The other four gold winners were Mohamed Azrin Malek, Mastura Sapuan, Ismail Darus and Ahmad Faisal Omar.

Ismail has quit the sport since, while Ahmad is now an assistant coach. Mohamed Azrin and Mastura are still in the squad.

Zubir Ismail and Amin Saadon, silver medallists at last year's World Championships, are the remaining members of the squad.

Before KL, Malaysia's previous best was four gold medals at the 1989 Sea Games.

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15 November 2003

Exponents fired-up for three-gold target

IT will be difficult in the subjective silat seni, and national coach Othman Jupri believes it will be up to his exponents to come up with convincing performances to convince the judges.

However the silat olahraga exponents are fired up for the challenge under coaches Ahmad Khusairi Ibrahim and Ahmad Faisal Omar, who believe that the three gold medal target set by the National Sports Council (NSC) is achievable.

Four of the five gold medal winners from the Kuala Lumpur Games two years ago, will again be slugging it out in Vietnam.

Men's Class I (80-85kg) olahraga gold medallist Mohamed Azrin Abdul Malik has moved up a category to Class J (85-90kg) and will be joined by three women's gold medallists from 2001.

Mastura Sapuan will defend her Class E (65-70kg) title, while silat seni exponents Norshahidawati Abdullah Sani and Salina Abdul Ghafar are expected to have a tough time convincing the judges.

"In silat seni, it will be difficult because we won't be at home and the judging can sometimes sway towards the home team. But I still believe our exponents should do their best to convince the judges," said Othman.

Ahmad Khusairi said while centralised training began three months ago, the exponents have not had much competitive exposure.

"We had the World Championships in Penang last December, and the most recent one was the Asia Pacific Championships in Manila in August. It's hardly enough, but we have been preparing well and we are ready for Vietnam," said Ahmad Khusairi.

If the squad needed a boost than it surely came in the Asia Pacific Championships, where Khahorullah Abdul Majid delivered the country's sole gold medal in Class A (45-50kg).

"The target of three gold medals is realistic. Anything more than that, will be a bonus for us," said Ahmad Khusairi.

To back their words with effort, the squad have upped their pace in training at NSC in Bukit Jalil, even if it is mid-Ramadhan and the festive season draws closer.

Daily training sessions are scheduled for 3.0pm despite the athletes and officials fasting.

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08 November 2003

Hard to repeat KL feat

TWO years ago, it was the best achievement for the Malaysian silat exponents in the history of the SEA Games.

The team delivered five gold medals in Kuala Lumpur and it helped the Malaysian contingent in the overall medals tally.

However, the challenge this time in Vietnam is tougher as the other countries have shown much improvement in the various categories.

The Malaysian exponents who are expected to deliver the gold again are Azrin Malek, Mastura Sapuan and silat seni duo of Nooryhidawati Abdullah Sani and Shalina Abdul Ghafur.

The two other gold medallists - Ismail Darus, has decided to call it a day, and Ahmad Faisal Omar is now the assistant coach to the team.

The 10 men and nine women exponents are training under coaches Ahmad Khusairi Ibrahim, Ahmad Faisal and Othman Jupri.

Besides the four gold medallists, the squad also have the services of Mohamed Zubir Ismail and Mohamed Amin Saadon.

The duo won the silver at last year's World Championships.

Ahmad Khusairi said the exponents should make full use of their vast experience to deliver the goods.

"They know the kind of challenge in SEA Games and it will be tougher this time.

"But as far as I'm concerned, we have a quality squad.

We even sent the exponents to compete in Myanmar and Vietnam in the last two months," he said.

"We have been monitoring the progress of the exponents and I'm confident they will peak in Vietnam and meet the three-gold target." Prior to winning the five golds, Malaysia's previous best was four at the 1989 KL SEA Games.

It will be interesting to see if the exponents can better the achievement of the 2001 SEA Games.

FOR THE RECORD Competition dates: Dec 7-12 Venue: Sports Gymnasium, Hanoi Medals at stake: 22 Association target: 3 golds OCM target: 3 golds The squad Team manager: Adnan Zakaria Assistant team manager: Datuk Mat Lazim Coaches: Ahmad Khusairi Ibahim, Ahmad Faisal Omar, Othman Jupri Men: Amir Ikram Rahim, Ahmad Shahril Zailuddin, Muhamad Amin Saadun, Zuber Ismail, Majid Maidin, Azrin Malek, Emy Fadly Aziz, Fazzli Ali Bagas, Marwan Mat Rus, Muhammad Zainal Women: Shalina Ghafar, Noorsyahidda Wati, Suzy Sulaiman, Rina Juliana Adnan, Siti Jameelah Japilus, Mastura Sapuan, Amy Latip, Helena Nama Payon Nadus.

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 (Bernama) -- Despite the stiff competition expected from hosts Vietnam in the 22nd SEA Games, Malaysian silat exponents are hoping to repeat their gold medal haul achieved two years ago.

Then, Malaysia as hosts won five gold, one silver and four bronze medals.

National silat olahraga coach Ahmad Khushairi Ibrahim said the squad's target was a rather realistic one.

"The National Sports Council (NSC) have set a target of five gold medals for the silat squad, three may come from silat olahraga and two more from silat seni.

The 22nd SEA Games pencak silat competition will be held at the Police Academy Gymnasium in Hanoi. The sport offers 22 gold medals.

"Apart from traditional powerhouses Indonesia, competition from hosts Vietnam cannot be taken lightly. Their performance has improved and in subjective sports, the hosts usually have the advantage," he told reporters here today.

Ahmad Kushairi, who is a former world champion, said the pencak silat squad, made up of 11 silat olahraga and eight silat seni exponents, were banking on the 2001 SEA Games gold medallists to win their events.

He said Mohd Azrin Abdul Malek, Mastura Safuan and Mohd Khorarullah Abd Majid were hoped to strike gold in silat olahraga.

Meanwhile silat seni coach Othman Jupri was hoping for his charges to win in the Ganda Puteri and Ganda Putera competitions.

"In 2001, we won the gold medal through Ganda Puteri and Ganda Putera brought the silver.

"In Vietnam, I hope we will turn the colour of medal into gold in both events," he said.

In Hanoi, Shalina Abdul Ghaffar and Noorsyahidda Wati Abdullah Sani will be looking to win their Ganda Puteri gold medal, which the duo won in 2001.

As for Marwan Mat Rus and Muhammad Zainal, they will be trying to win the Ganda Putera competition.

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02 November 2003

Fighters eye golds after long drought

Hosts Vietnam will be going all out to foil Thailand's efforts to clinch gold medals in pencak silat at the 22nd SEA Games in December_ but Thailand's national head coach Kampanat Keandamrongchaim says that they will be in for a surprise.

"We haven't been able to manage a (SEA Games) gold medal since the Chiang Mai Games in 1995, but since clinching a gold medal in the Busan Asian Games last year, when pencak silat was a demonstration sport, our athletes are in a confident mood and are up for the challenge," said Kampanat.

The martial art has only a minority following, so this is the first time that Thailand will be fielding a complete team of 16 fighters.

What makes it all the more interesting, according to Kampanat, is the fact that the current squad all hold bachelor degrees, as in the past most athletes were recruited from the Army.

"Taking everything into account, I am pretty certain that we can look for four or five gold medals if the athletes stay injury free and we have no problems with the judging, " said former national star Kampanat, who expects the main challenge to come from Vietnam.

The Thai team's biggest drawback is lack of competitive experience, he added.

Unlike other nations who have been competing in other countries, the Thais have only been training at home due to a low budget for travelling expenses.

Written by YVONNE BOHWONGPRASERTSourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-24880578_ITM