Eyes will be on Cheau Xuen as she makes first appearance since ban
A relaxed Cheau Xuen (right) was all smiles during practice at the Braddell Heights Community Club in Seranggon for the SEA Games. - IZZRAFIQ ALIAS / The Star
SINGAPORE: All eyes will be on wushu exponent Tai Cheau Xuen as she makes her much-anticipated first competitive appearance at the Singapore SEA Games following a doping ban.
The 23-year-old will compete in the women’s nanquan and nandao all-round at the Singapore Expo Hall with team-mate Diana Bong as the pair look to continue Malaysia’s supremacy in the southern disciplines at the biennial Games.
Cheau Xuen and Diana are the defending champions of nandao (southern barehand) and nanquan (southern broadsword), but both events have been combined this time.
The nanquan will take place Saturday and nandao on Sunday. The scores from these two disciplines will be combined to determine the final standings.
Cheau Xuen will be keen to make up for the disappointment she suffered at the Incheon Asian Games last year.
She delivered Malaysia’s first gold medal at the Asiad after winning the women’s nanquan and nandao combined event, but was later tested positive for banned substance sibutramine, an ingredient commonly found in slimming products. She was then suspended for four months, which ended on March.
National head coach Lim Yew Fai has backed Cheau Xuen to shine again.
“She’s heading for the SEA Games in a very positive mood and good confidence,” said Yew Fai.
“Her long wait is over. All she wants to do is compete again.
“She has managed to get over what happened last year. It’d doesn’t bother her how people judge her.
“She will make a great comeback.”
The national wushu team have been set a modest two-gold target, but an upbeat Yew Fai believes Malaysia are good enough for three of the 20 gold medals on offer.
“The whole team is in high spirits. They have adapted to the venue and atmosphere very well,” said Yew Fai.
“We are aiming for a piece each from nanquan, taijiquan and changquan. We are traditionally strong in these three events and stand a good chance to win.”
The first four gold medals up for grabs on the opening day are women’s compulsory taijiquan, men’s optional chanquan and men’s and women’s duel event – weapons.
Malaysia’s best bet will be in the taijiquan where Ng Shin Yii, Chan Lu Yi and Audrey Chan will be in action.
The other Malaysian wushu exponents in the fray this week are Aggie Cheah and Chai Fong Wei (women); Ho Mun Hua, Khaw Jun Lim, Loh Choon How, Loh Jack Chang, Wong Weng Son, Yap Zheng Yan, Yeap Wai Kin, Chong Lui Meng and Tan Jia Guan (men).