World junior leaders Iran look to maintain form in sanda, taolu events

Fadhil Yunus

The Islamic Republic of Iran has voiced a desire to retain their ranking in the sanda and combined taolu and sanda events respectively during the 10th Asian Junior Wushu Championships at the National Indoor Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex next week.

The biennial international meet will be preceded with an opening ceremony tomorrow, culminating with the closing ceremony on August 24.

Iran finished as runners-up in the sanda event behind China and third place in the sanda and taolu events behind China and Hong Kong during their last appearance in Gumi City, South Korea two years ago.

“I expect to retain our ranking at least during the Asian junior championship,” said President of the Iran Wushu Federation Mehdi Alinejad in an interview with the Bulletin shortly after the team’s arrival at the Brunei International Airport yesterday morning.

The president echoed Brunei and Singapore’s sentiments that China will be a force in the competition.

Nevertheless, Iran will be a respected team in their own right after finishing in first place in the overall medal table in the World Junior Wushu Championships in Brasilia, Brazil last year.

“Last year in the World Junior Wushu Championships, Iran came first but I expect and I think that China will get the first place,” the president added.

The Iranian contingent, who underwent a three-month training camp in preparation for the tournament, comprised of 36 members including 24 young athletes. Prior to that, the athletes represented their respective clubs.

The president added that the athletes are in good spirits ahead of the tournament. He said, “They have very good spirits and physically they are also very good.”

Mehdi is also confident that Brunei will be good hosts in the tournament. “I’m so happy to be in Brunei and I’m sure that Brunei will be a very good host for this championship.”

Meanwhile, the Singapore national junior wushu team will look to do their best in the competition and repeat their heroics from the previous edition in South Korea.

Iran (above) and Singapore junior wushu teams on arrival at the Brunei International Airport. PHOTOS: FADHIL YUNUS

“We try to win but we will do our best. If we don’t win, we will try again next time,” said Lukas Cheng, Vice Chairman of Wushu Sub-Committee of the Singapore Wushu Dragon & Lion Dance Federation.

The Singapore junior team, which will feature 14 young athletes, has been training for the championship for almost a year.

He shared that there is a balance of athletes that will represent the country in the Southeast Asian Games in November but stopped short of confirming the athletes who will be on the plane to the Philippines.

Singapore amassed six gold medals during the previous event. When asked what their specific target is, Cheng said their focus is to try and win.

Asked who they consider as the main threat in the championship, he said, “Every team is difficult. Of course, China is very strong but every team in the championship is the same.”