Shaharudin Jamaludin (right) on the offensive against Vietnam’s Nguyen Minh Phung in the final.
This one is for family honour. It pained Shaharudin Jamaludin to watch his sister Jamalliah falter on the tatami on Saturday and he vowed to avenge her defeat at the Senayan Indoor Tennis Hall yesterday.
Like a man possessed, Shaharudin bulldozed his way through the below-75kg competition, racking up points in an astonishing manner as he used kicks to head, waist and even once an audacious sweep of the legs.
He swept aside Thailand's Songwut Muntaen 9-1 when the referee stopped the contest with one minute, 37 seconds remaining before taking his place in the final by beating Badil Michael of the Philippines 5-2.
The 23-year-old fighter's boldness paid off handsomely when he trounced Vietnam's Nguyen Minh Phung 5-2 in the final to win his first gold medal of the Sea Games in his third appearance, karate's first at these Games and Malaysia's first from Jakarta.
"I am so happy and proud to win my first gold medal at the Sea Games. After my sister (who was the defending champion in her event) lost yesterday (Saturday), I told her I'd win the gold back.
"This one is for my family and the country," said Shaharuddin, who has a bronze medal each from 2007 and 2009.
Elaborating on his performances, Shaharudin said he stuck to the game plan prepared for him by coach P. Arivalagan.
"I went in there determined to do my best. I followed my coach's instructions and tactics and I'm glad I carried it out perfectly.
"I've met the Vietnamese guy, who won bronze at the Asian Championships this year, three or four times before and beat him each time.
"I read his moves well and I knew where to hit to get the points. The points he got came when he tried to hit my side but struck my hand instead.
"But I was already up 5-0 with 40 seconds to go so it did not matter," said an ecstatic Shaharudin.
L. Kunasilan bounced back from a quarter-final defeat to Indonesia's eventual winner Jintar Simanjuntak to grab bronze in the men's below-67kg beating Vietnam's Nguyen Van Su 3-0 after extra-time in the repechage.
Shakkila Sani also grabbed a bronze on her Sea Games debut in the women's below-68kg event when she trounced Myanmar's Nway Nway Zaw Win 8-2 in the playoff having suffered a contentious 3-2 defeat to Indonesia's Yulanda Asmuruf in the semi-finals.