Nov 7, 2007

Puvaneswaran good for gold again

NATIONAL karate coach P. Arivalagan wants skipper R. Puvaneswaran to leadby example and deliver one of two gold medals the former has targeted. Although the Malaysian Karate Federation (Makaf) has targeted only onegold, Arivalagan insists two gold medals is a realistic target. "Even though the Malaysia Karate Federation (Makaf) has only set onegold medal as a target in the Doha Games, I think we should be able towin at least two. "Since 1998, our target has always been one gold medal as karate is asubjective sport but I believe we can win two," said the former exponent,who won bronze in the 1998 Bangkok Games. "We came back with two gold, one silver and two bronze medals fromBusan (2002) so this time, we hope to be able to deliver two gold medalsand also try our best to return with a total of eight medals." Arivalagan has targeted the gold medals to come from kumite exponentsPuvaneswaran (55kg) and G. Yamini (60kg) while A. Vasantha Marial (48kg)could surprise. Puvaneswaran, 32, is regarded by many as the best kumite exponent inAsia. Doha will be his fourth successive Asian Games. "Puvaneswaran has been in this sport since the age of 14, competitivelyhe has been fighting since 1990 and he is 32 now but I believe he willstill be able to contribute in Doha, especially after winning gold inBusan." Arivalagan is also confident that Malaysia's total medal haul will begood, after the encouraging performances in the recent WorldChampionships in Finland. Malaysia narrowly missed out on three bronze medals after Lim Yoke Wai,Yamini and Vasantha were beaten in their bronze medal bouts. Yoke Wai and Yamini also became the first Malaysians to reach thesemi-finals of the world meet in the men's kumite below 65kg and women'skumite below 60kg respectively. "We have been competing in the World Championship since 1972, but forthe first time we advanced to the semi-final stage, that is animprovement in my opinion, so I hope that the inspiring performances bythe athletes will continue in Doha." Malaysia are sending an eight-member team to Doha. Karate will be contested on Dec 12-13 with the team leaving on Dec 8. THE SQUAD - Men: R. Puvaneswaran (kumite-55kg), L. Kunasilan(kumite-60kg), Lim Yoke Wai (kumite-65kg), S. Mahendran (kumite-70kg), KuJin Keat (kata). Women: A. Vasantha Marial (kumite-48kg), G. Yamini (kumite-60kg), LimLee Lee (kata).

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