Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fauzi surprise boosts squad

THE silat squad put to rest the failure in Korat two years ago by ending the Laos Sea Games with four gold medals on the final day of competition at the Lao International Trade and Exhibition Centre yesterday.

The day began with a surprise when 22-year-old policeman Mohd Fauzi Khalid overcame the odds to trounce long time rival Truong Van Mao of Vietnam in the below 75kg category final 5-0.

At the time of his win, Fauzi had delivered Malaysia's 30th gold medal of this Sea Games, which meant the National Sports Council's minimal target was already met, although it would eventually be surpassed.

Faizal Abdullah, Mohd Hafiz Mahari and Emy Latip followed that up for a perfect performance of four wins from the four finalists Malaysia paraded yesterday. That also ended Vietnam's almost total dominance of silat events, as Malaysia finished second in the overall silat medal standings.

"I really focused on beating this Vietnamese exponent as I had lost to him in the semi-finals of the Asian Martial Arts Games in Bangkok. I managed to land a kick to score points in the first round and I was already confident the gold was mine," said Fauzi, who is based at the Dang Wangi police station in Kuala Lumpur.

"I fought in my first Sea Games in Korat but did not win a medal, so getting the gold here means so much to me."

Mohd Fauzi Khalid (right) in action against Vietnam’s Truong Van Mao en route to winning gold in the 75kg category yesterday.
Mohd Fauzi Khalid (right) in action against Vietnam’s Truong Van Mao en route to winning gold in the 75kg category yesterday.

Faizal, 29, bagged the second gold medal in the men's below 85kg category with an equally impressive 5-0 win over Chanon Untakool of Thailand.

This had effectively been a marked improvement from the single silver and six bronze medals the team had won in Korat.

"The current team are more focussed and we were better prepared this time," said military policeman Faizal, a father of two, who was one of the six bronze medallists in Korat.

The third gold and the optimal target-equalling 35th came from Hafiz, who overcame Laotian Okhe Botsavang in the men's below 50kg final.

Emy, who was the only silat exponent targeted to win a gold medal at this Sea Games, bagged the final title in the women's below 60kg after beating Thai Jutarat Noytapa in the final. NST

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