Sukma XX: Sarawak Karate athletes train online during MCO

Sarawak Sukma athletes Michael Owen Haring and Chang Sze Poh, who won medals in their international meets in Iran.
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By Martin Yee

KUCHING, March 28: Sarawak Karate athletes are training through online guidance and tips to keep fit and “battle ready” for the 20th Malaysia Games following the Movement Control Order (MCO).

While the games to be held in Johor this July has been postponed, the state Karate squad are not taking things likely and training individually as usual, said assistant coach Clarence Leong.

“It may appear to have its adverse effects, as training alone and in the confine of your house may not be the ideal way of training and preparing for a high-level competition.

“However, the lock-down may have a silver lining in their preparations, as Sarawak athletes need that aspect of training alone even more, where they can brush up on their technical aspect,” he said.

Leong added that physical conditioner coach Spencer Biondy, who is the chief conditioning for combat sports from the high performance centre setup by the Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC), has assisted in the preparation by introducing a tailor-made programme for the 16-strong Karate squad.

Meanwhile, Iranian chief coach Yousef Ataei Khanghah is not available to guide the team at the moment, after returning back to his country to settle personal matters before the MCO.

Leong feared that Yousef might not come back to the state, as the latter’s contract has been suspended at the moment.

The interim head coach expressed confidence that training will carry on without a hitch, as many of the Iranian coach’s methodology and philosophy, as well as psychological and physiology aspects, have been incorporated in the programme.

“Without social contact, they can train on their own as myself and Spencer has introduced a programme for them to train. Analysis can also be made as the visual part of their training can be recorded.

“Physical conditioning part is very important and we have proposed a programme by looking at it from a different angle.

“In past Sukma, we focused more on the on-field training but we have neglected the most important aspect to sharpen the basic skills such as the physiological part of the sport, which includes footwork, studying the stability and balancing.

“All these needs to be sharpened. With the lock-down, online training can be done to achieve results as we can analyse what went wrong during a certain move, as all these mistakes can be corrected in our conditioning.

“If we face a physically strong or reputed opponent, our athletes will be psychologically prepared and their workout online with all the necessary physiological conditioning will give him or her the confidence.”

With the Malaysia Games (Sukma) expected to be postponed to next year, Leong raised several issues that might crop up in the team’s preparation such as age eligibility and contract of coaches, especially those on a one-year agreement.

Leong, whose contract ends this year, said he will carry on with his duty despite the uncertainty might affect team preparation.

He reminded that some of the athletes, who are medal contenders, might not be allowed to part in Sukma XX if they exceed the 21 age limit next year.

Sarawak has never won Sukma gold in Karate but Leong is optimistic that the state can do well in the next edition, based on the two gold medals won by Sarawak athletes in a national-level competition last year. — DayakDaily