PETALING JAYA: The Malaysia Karate Federation (Makaf) have made a bold decision by leaving out all their senior exponents from the South-East Asia (SEA) Karate Championships in Laos next month.
There are no places for Asian Games gold medallists Syakilla Salni Jefry Krisnan and Lim Chee Wei. Instead, Makaf have decided to send their back-up and junior exponents.
At the SEA Championships in Vietnam last year, Malaysia won eight golds to win the overall title. Syakilla emerged champion in the women’s below 61kg while Chee Wei clinched the men’s individual kata title.
“There is no point for the seniors like Syakilla and Chee Wei to compete this time. It is better for us to send our second liners,” said Makaf secretary Vincent Chen.
Karate has been excluded in this year’s SEA Games in Singapore in June.
“We are confident we can maintain our position as the top team in the SEA Games in 2017. But we cannot take things for granted.
“Our South-East Asian rivals now want to emulate us after Syakilla’s success in winning the silver at the World Championships in Germany last November.
“Vietnam have recently engaged a Latvian coach. It is the first time they have brought in a foreign coach.
“It is very important for us not to let our guard down. We must prepare well to make sure we have the exponents to take over the place of the seniors in case something happens,” said Vincent.
Malaysia, coached by Latvian Andris Vasiljevs, bagged eight golds at the last SEA Games in Myanmar two years ago.