KEDAH's silat strength revolves around a towering figure called Mazlan Shaari (pic) and the former world champion has always made sure that his home State remains as the major force in the Malaysia Games. Mazlan has been in charge of Kedah for the last three Games and under him, they won four gold in Sabah in 2002, five gold medals in 2004 and their 2006 campaign ended yesterday with four gold and two silver at the Insaniah Hall.
Mazlan, also a former national middleweight champion in taekwondo, was appointed as the national coach after 2004 Games and under his guidance, the national exponents returned with six gold from the World Silat Championships in Singapore last year. Despite his success in such a short time with the national team, Mazlan is a Kedahan by heart and returned to help the State after the Manila Sea Games last December. "I would say Kedah are the strongest when it comes to silat and I will do anything to maintain that status. That's the reason I came back to help them after the Sea Games," said Mazlan. "Don't mistake me. I want to give my best for the national team as well but I need to return and help Kedah as we are hosting the Games.
"I'm employed by the Kedah State Sports Council and with their consent, I will rejoin the national team after this. "However, come the next Malaysia Games, I will return for six months to train my young talent. That is going to be my coaching path from now onwards." The national squad have another experienced coach in Ahmad Wardi Salim and this is one of the reasons why Mazlan is able to give Kedah a helping hand. Kedah's gold medals yesterday came from Jabbar Zulkifli in the men's below 55kg, Nik Arrafi Mat in the men's below 80kg, Rozilawati Azizan (women's below 50kg) and Marshito Ismail (below 65kg). Pahang, with their strength in the silat seni (pattern) events, were the overall champions with eight gold, four silver and five bronze medals.
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