KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Taekwondo Association (MTA) have set a target of winning just one gold medal in the Laos SEA Games.
Team manager K.M. Rajendran said that the national exponents lacked preparation because they only received the green light from the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) to take part in the Games two weeks ago.
“We thank the OCM for allowing our exponents to feature in the Games. Our exponents have competed in only just one or two tournaments and we will be happy to bag one gold medal in Laos,” he said.
At the last Games in Korat two years ago, Malaysia bagged two gold medals in taekwondo.
Rajendran added that as preparation for the Games, a five-man and five-woman team were on a three-week training stint at the National University of Seoul.
The men in the team are Harith Feizal (below 54kg), Rus Frredy Petrus Tokan (below 58kg), Ryan Chong (below 63kg), Mohd Affifuddin (below 68kg), Darrel Josie (below 80kg). The female exponents are Nurul Ashsalina (below 46kg), Elaine Teo (below 49kg), Nurul Nadia (below 55kg), Che Ehew Chan (below 73kg) and Lee Wan Yuen (below 80kg).
Former Olympian Wan Yuen (pic) is making a comeback to competition after quitting the national team five years ago.
She was the gold medallist in the 1997 Jakarta SEA Games and also in Brunei in 1999. Wan Yuen last took part in the Games in 2003 in Hanoi and she bagged the silver.
Rajendran added that the best bet to deliver the gold medal would come from among Rus Frredy, Ryan, Affifuddin and Elaine, who all competed in the world championships in Copenhagen last month.
He also said that Malaysia would also have four exponents competing in the poomsae (patterns) events, which would be contested for the first time in the Games series.
The exponents for the competitions are S. Anandraj, Mohd Raffique Hasimi, Lee Jeng Yen and Lee Pay En.
Rajendran said that the four exponents left to Egypt on Wednesday to compete world taekwondo poomsae championships beginning tomorrow.“We are not setting any target for the poomsae exponents because we are not sure of the strength of our rivals,” he said. THE STAR