KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 (Bernama) -- Even though most exponents in the silat dance squad are placed under Category B by the Olympics Council of Malaysia (OCM), they remain spirited and are ready for the 23rd SEA Games in Manila next month.
Eight exponents representing Malaysia for the event are Habizan Othman (men's solo); Suzy Mohd Sulaiman (women's solo); Hafiz Abu Hasan, Mohd Fauze Latip and Marzuki Mokhtar (men's team); and Siti Nur Ayisah Zainal Abidin, Norhidayah Yusof and Rina Juliana Adnan (women's team).
Among them, only Suzy is placed under Category A after she won a gold medal in the World Silat Championship in Singapore last year.
"So far, the athletes are 80 per cent ready mentally and physically and we believe that they can give a good performance and a good challenge against their opponents in the SEA Games," trainer Nasri Nasir told Bernama.
Besides Nasri, the coach for solo events, the athletes also receive guidance from Othman Jupri for the team event.
Nasri said the National Silat Association of Malaysia (Pesaka) would take the exponents for a five-day friendly match in Bangkok next Tuesday to test their skills ahead of the SEA Games.
"This is the first competition overseas for the exponents this year. It will help them prepare for the SEA Games," he said.
"According to the plan, after the friendly match in Bangkok, Pesaka plans to hold the same in the Philippines but it has not been confirmed yet," he said.
In the Manila SEA Games, four gold medals are up for grabs in the silat dance event with two each in solo and team events.
"Even though Pesaka has targeted one gold for women's solo, we in the squad are eyeing two golds; Insya Allah," Nasri said.
"In terms of training, our exponents are strong but the challenge from the host can spring a surprise like in Vietnam two years ago.
"This event is a subjective sport. Anything can happen," Nasri said.
In silat, Malaysian exponents obtained a gold through men's sparring in the 22nd SEA Games in Vietnam in 2003 and women's sparring in the previous games in Kuala Lumpur.
Sparring events will not be held in Manila.
Written by FARHANAH AZMI
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