THE electronic scoring system for taekwondo will not make its SEA Games debut in Laos.
The newly-introduced system was supposed to be implemented for the sparring events starting tomorrow but the participating teams decided against it at the team managers’ meeting yesterday.
Malaysian manager K.M. Rajendran said there were no objections when the issue was brought up.
“Only a handful of exponents from this region have had the experience of this scoring system when it was first introduced at the world meet in Copenhagen two months ago,” he said.
“It is still relatively new to everyone and I’m not surprised that they decided against introducing it at the SEA Games.
“However, the organisers have promised that the judging will be fair.”
The new technology is based on a sensor system that detects and measures the force of impact on an exponent.
Only three Malaysian exponents – Elaine Teo, Rusfredy Petrus and Ryan Chong – have fought under the new scoring system in the world meet.
The system is similar to the one used in fencing, except that it is cordless and eliminates the subjective decisions to a certain degree.
The good thing, however, is the SEA Games organisers have adopted the recommendation of the international federation to provide video replay.
“This is another new ruling where a team official can immediately raise his hand to protest if he feels they have been given an unfair decision,” said Rajendran.
“They will then replay the bout and rectify it if there was a mistake. This can be done without putting up a protest fee, which was the case previously.”
The poomsae (non-sparring) events will be held today but the four Malaysians in the fray are not expected to deliver the gold medal.
Anantha Rajan and Lee Jeng Yen will compete in the men’s and women’s individual poomsae respectively while Rafique Hashim and Lee Pay En will team up for the mixed event.
“This is the first time they have included the poomsae, which is similar to the kata discipline in karate,” said Rajendran.
“Vietnam and the Philippines are the favourites for gold and we have not set any medal targets for our exponents.”
Malaysia stand a better chance of landing the gold medal in the sparring events, which will begin tomorrow.
Beijing Olympian Che Chew Chan will be defending her middleweight title while Lee Wan Yuen will be hoping to make a successful SEA Games comeback in the women’s heavyweight after quitting the sport for five years.
Wan Yuen is a two-time gold medallist – in 1997 (Jakarta) and 1999 (Brunei).
She took silver in 2003 (Hanoi) and quit the following year to raise her son after failing to qualify for the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Malaysia have never failed to deliver at least one gold medal since taekwondo made its SEA Games debut in 1987.