KUCHING: Sarawak’s silat team is ready to face the challenges in the upcoming Sukma 2008 in Terengganu, from May 31 to June 9, says head coach Robin Syah Ghaffar.
Syah, who is originally from Bandung, Indonesia, has been coaching the exponents for almost four years.
The squad consists of 59 members including officials, and will participate in 23 different events.
“We have started our intensive training since January and we will keep it up until the very last moment,” said Syah during a friendly at Rumpun Silat Centre, Batu Kawa here yesterday.
He mentioned that previously the team lacked distancing, making the first move and stealing points from opponents.
But in terms of endurance, power and agility, he was confident the exponents would be well-equipped.
He said: “I would like to thank Sarawak State Sports Council for getting involved in the training. They have provided gym (training) to further enhance the physical preparation for the upcoming Sukma.”
According to Syah, to give an extra edge for the squad, the State sent five of the finest — Mohd Rudy Daud, Hairel Nizam, Mod Nosri, Amy Bohram and Hamzah Sulaiman — to train at Jawa Barat, Bandung with Padepokan Seri Wangi silat school.
The five will meet tough competition from Pahang, Selangor and the hosts.
“Pahang is the strongest team. They have bagged the majority of gold medals in previous Sukmas,” Syah said.
“We hope that this year we are able to get two gold medals. That is our target for Sukma and we will try our very best,” he said.
He said the squad might have a good chance of bagging gold judging by their previous performance in the Johor Open at Danga Bay.
Sarawak managed to get one gold in Class G and two bronzes in Class A.
The tournament involved all states except Sabah, and with the participation of Indonesia.
Indonesia sent exponents from Acheh, Riau, Kalimantan Timur and Jawa Tengah, all serious opponents for the participating teams from Malaysia.
As for the leading star of the Sarawak squad Alice Bagat, he said, had fully prepared herself physically and mentally to perform in Terengganu.
She will be participating in the Jurus Wajib Putri event alongside Magdeline Manjah and Deborah Ayom. The event is all about synchronisation of movements.
Their toughest adversaries will be from Johor, Kuala Lumpur and Perak.
Alice, a 21-year-old Iban from Kampung Selepang Tiga, Kapit, has made the State proud by netting gold medals in the two previous Sukmas. She represented the country in the British Open 2006 in London and secured a silver, and participated in friendlies in Belgium and other countries.
She has been involved in silat for nearly 10 years and is currently studying at Matang Polytechnic.
The secretary general of Rumpun Silat Sarawak (RSS) Mohd Haneef Ali said the Johor Open was a good exposure and experience for the participating teams.
The Indonesian side will be competing in the Pekan Olahraga Nasional Indonesia, an event which is similar to the Sukma.
He also agreed that Sarawak had potential to shine as in previous Sukmas, the exponents were rewarded with runner-up positions.
Written by Fitzpatrick Ricky
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