11 December 2003

Silat hopeful of another two golds

HANOI, Dec 11 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian pencak silat team are hoping to clinch another two gold medals to fulfil their three gold medal target for the 22nd Vietnam SEA Games.

Marwan Mat Rus and Muhammad Zainal gave Pencak silat's first gold after winning the "wirasanda putra" event two days ago.

However, the quest for the remaining two golds would not be an easy task with just two exponents in action during the finals tomorrow.

The task of seeking glory would rest on the shoulders of Siti Jameelah Mohd Japilus who competes in 55kg "putri" category and Mohd Azrin Abdul Malek who is down to compete in the 95kg "putra" category.

Jameelah who beat Saiedah Said in the semifinal, takes on Permata Kemala Sari from Indonesia. Azrin, winner over Irwan Ibrahim from Brunei in another semifinal, meets Nguyen Bach Nhut from host nation, Vietnam.

Azrin would be facing a mammoth task as his opponent would receive strong backing from the fanatical Vietnam fans. He needs to be in his element and stay focused to beat his opponent.

"Nothing is impossible. I will put up my best show although I realise that taking on an opponent from the host nation would always weigh against me," he said.

Jameelah meanwhile, stands a 50-50 chance although her Indonesian opponent is considered the favourite in the said category.

Permata won the gold at the Brunei Games and would be hoping to repeat that feat here.

It is no secret that the silat events here have not been a happy hunting ground for the nations Pencak silat exponents. One after another had been shown the exit by stronger opposition.

Even the "silat seni" category where Malaysia had been the powerhouse, witnessed a drastic drop. The performances of our athletes, except for the wirasanda event, shows that they have a lot of catching up to do as the others have improved by leaps and bounds.

Pencak silat events took a break today, giving the athletes a much needed rest before action resumes tomorrow.

Vietnam, Singapura and Indonesia have been dominant in the Pencak silat events here.

Written by ASAN AHMAD
Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-19687968_ITM

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