01/12/2021 07:02 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 -- National deaf karateka V. Yilamaran’s historic first bronze medal in the 1st World Deaf Karate Championships 2021 in Iran last month is likely to spur the national squad to strive for greater glory.

This is the first time Malaysia has participated at the world level and we have managed to make history by bringing home a (bronze) medal," Malaysian Sports Association for the Deaf (MSDeaf) national karate coach V. Vicnesvaran said about Yilamaran’s success in securing the bronze in the men's under 84kg kumite event.

Apart from Yilamaran, seven other athletes, Siti Norinsyirah Adawiah, Muhammad Iqbal Mohd Taib, Pang Kai Xiang, M. Gopinath, Muhammad Afiq Mohd Taib, Ong Zong Yi and Muhammad Danial Moharam participated in the Tehran tournament, which took place from Nov 18 to 25.

On the challenges and preparation of the national team, Vicnesvaran said his athletes showed high commitment and enthusiasm throughout the training, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"Due to COVID-19, all classes were closed but we still called in our athletes to stay and train in class on a quarantine basis for two and-a-half months at the National Deaf Karate Training Centre in Skudai, Johor Bharu," he said when contacted by Bernama here today.

Vicnesvaran, who is currently undergoing quarantine, said the lack of sports competitions due to the pandemic was also one of the biggest obstacles faced in by athletes in their preparations.

Meanwhile, he is hopeful about raising enough funds to enter a team for the Deaflympics in Caxias Do Sul, Brazil, from May 1 to 15, following successful crowdfunding efforts to cover costs for the Tehran trip.

"We were able to go to Tehran with the help of the Youth and Sports Ministry, through the National Sports Council (MSN), and concerned Malaysians, so thank you very much to every individual and all parties who extended assistance in terms of finance, ideas and any kind of help.

"We apologise for not bringing home the gold medal, but in May I hope we will have more 'warm-up games' before going to the Deaflympic (Games)," he said, adding that the team will return to training next month.

Vicnesvaran also thanked the Malaysian Karate Federation (MAKAF) for allowing deaf athletes to compete with normal athletes at the national level in 2019, which saw the team win five medals in total.

"Our level is on par with other countries, but we are a bit behind in terms of preparation and experience. Some countries have trained for almost a year and some nearly six months," he said.


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