19 December 2003


KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 (Bernama) -- Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Tun Hussein raised concern over poor performances in taekwondo and pencak silat.

"The recently concluded SEA Games in Vietnam revealed weaknesses in a number of sports, especially taekwondo and pencak silat. I personally would like to know what happened to our athletes in taekwondo and pencak silat, not only in Vietnam but other competitions as well," he said.

"Vietnam has shown tremendous improvement. Our sports associations and athletes must learn a lesson or two from them," he said after handing out incentives to gold medal winners.

He also urged national sports associations to monitor the progress and preparations of other nations. He cited Indonesia's "Indonesia Bangkit 2005-2006" programme aimed at restoring their lost pride in the Games as a good example. The Philippines are also another contingent which showed improvement.

During the Games, 218 athletes involved in the Gemilang 2006 Project took part. From that total, 50 were from schools including those pursuing further studies at Universities and 44 from the Bukit Jalil Sports School.

He said the post-mortem conducted by the National Sports Council revealed two main factors for Malaysia's poor performances.

One was the absence of some veteran athletes from swimming, artistic gymnastics and athletics while the other reason being most of the current athletes had already passed their peak.

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13 December 2003

Azrin unhappy despite three golds

A HATTRICK of titles was in the bag for silat exponent and team captain Mohd Azrin Abdul Malek (top) but he was seen brooding at the Police Academy Gymnasium yesterday.

Azrin arrived in Hanoi with the reputation as the defending champion in the men's 95kg and world champion.

Despite the gold medal, Azrin contained his excitement because he knew the mission was not yet fulfilled.

Azrin's hard-earned victory over crowd favourite Nguyen Thanh Bhac assured Malaysia their second gold after Perlis duo Marwan Mat Rus and Muhammad Zainal delivered the gold in the wiradansa putra four days ago.

It turned out to be the best the exponents could produce as the team registered a medal haul of 2-2-3.

Familiarity breeds contempt, they say.

As far as Azrin was concerned, familiarity was the reason behind his win yesterday.

It was his third and certainly most testing and difficult bout against Thanh Bach in recent years.

"I defeated him in Brunei 1999.

A year later, I was at the receiving end in a tournament in Jakarta.

"Beating him in Vietnam is really satisfying for me," said Azrin.

Later when the silat programme came to an end, Azrin could not hide his disappointment with the team's performance.

"We failed to win three gold medals.

As such it can be considered as a failure because we bagged five at home two years ago.

"If that is the case, we might have to conduct a post-mortem.

Although we have youngsters forming the bulk of the team, we have to demonstrate our ability and strength at this level," said Azrin.

Earlier in the day, Siti Jameelah Japilus settled for the silver in the women's 55kg category losing to defending champion Permata Kemala Sari of Indonesia.

Last night Mastura Sapuan lost 4-1 to Vietnam's Lam Thi Huong in the tanding Under-70 kg bout.

The bronze medals were delivered by Amy Latip in the putri 65kg, Mohd Khoharullah Abd Majid (putra 50kg) and Ahmad Shahril Zailudin in the putra 65kg category.

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Beating the host is a bonus

HANOI, Dec 13 (Bernama) -- No one who came here dared to set a high target for pencak silat, but if any of the participant, except the host, managed to capture more than one gold medal it is considered an achievement.

Beating the host athletes, who put up a splendid performance throughout the games, would truly be a bonus.

Like any other subjective sport, pencak silat was among the events which the visitors found difficult to predict the outcome.

As in the previous Games, the host always had an edge over the visitors and this was proven from the 11 gold medal achievement by the Vietnam pencak silat contingent, which was their best ever.

They took five gold medals in the men's category and six in the women's out of the 22 gold medals at stake.

Indonesia, once a powerhouse in the event, also found the homesters a hard nut to crack and they only managed to bring home four gold -- three from the tanding and one from the silat seni category.

Singapore also showed an improvement with their three gold medal achievement and it was something that the republic could take pride in.

Thailand and Brunei had one each while Malaysia took home two gold, two silver and three bronze medals.

They won the gold through Mohd Azrin Abd Malek in the men's 95kg category as well as in the wirasanda category through Marwan Mat Rus and Muhammad Zainal. The silver were delivered by Siti Jameelah Japilus (women's 55kg) and Mastura Safuan in the 70kg catgory.

The bronze came from Mohd Khoharullah Abd Majid (men's 50kg), Ahmad Shahril Zailudin (men's 65kg) and Amy Latip in the women's 65kg category.

Despite the fact that pencak silat used to be Malaysia's "gold mine" in past games, their outing here was a disappointment and way below their three gold medal target.

From the start of the event, the Malaysian exponents were easily knocked-out by their opponents as early as in the first round.

the Malaysian Pencak Silat Association (Pesaka) must be more aggressive in their development programmes and should be better prepared for the next Games in Manila.

The two gold medal achievement here should be used as a platform by Pesaka to study what had gone wrong with the exponents and find out what happened to the five gold medals which they had won in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games two years ago.

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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
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