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Friday, December 9, 2022
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    Karate athletes bag medals in Turkey meet

    Fadhil Yunus

    Brunei Darussalam karate athletes received a warm welcome home yesterday following their record-breaking achievements in the International Turkish Open Karate Championship Grand Prix last weekend.

    The country – represented by Mohd Haneef Metassan, Alexander Jacklya Dakius, Nur Razanah Shakila Awang Rozia Gador and Syakirah Haji Ibrahim – bagged three silver and two bronze medals in the highly prestigious international meet.

    The delegation comprising the Brunei Shotokan Karate Association (BSKA) Sports School representatives was led by Haji Khallidden bin Haji Mohd Jamil as Team Manager and Haji Mohd Ishak bin Haji Abu Bakar as coach.

    BSKA Acting President Dr Haji Kamaruddin bin Dato Seri Setia Haji Talib welcomed the athletes and officials home at the Brunei International Airport.

    Brunei medallist Alexander Jacklya Dakius, who won silver in Under-21 male kata and bronze in the senior male kata said in an interview with the Bulletin, “As this is my first time in a Middle East country especially in Istanbul, Turkey, it was actually a very exciting journey for me.

    Brunei Darussalam karate athletes at the Brunei International Airport. PHOTO: FADHIL YUNUS

    “It was my first time and I wanted to challenge myself to do my best,” he added.

    “At first, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be but when I actually came into the ring my heart started racing and that’s when I actually felt pressure and nervousness all in one go,” said the BSKA athlete.

    “But as I started and went through all the rounds, I got to be more comfortable with the environment and challenged myself to be more comfortable.”

    The 19-year-old said that winning a medal was unexpected particularly given the strength of other countries, before expressing pride to contribute to the country through sporting glory.

    His compatriot Nur Razanah Shakila said, “It was a very good experience with other competitors from other countries such as Turkey, Malaysia, Iran and Jordan.”

    The Istanbul meet marked her second appearance in an international competition following his debut in the Philippines in 2018.

    Nur Razanah Shakila believes she could scale to greater heights after winning silver in the Under-21 female kata event.

    On assessing her overall performance, the 18-year-old said, “I wouldn’t say that it was my best performance but I did my best. For me, I could do better.

    “With all the feelings I have when I was in the tournament, I think I could do better than this. But it’s a good experience for me,” said Nur Razanah before concluding that she will train harder.

    Meanwhile, Mohd Haneef, who is the youngest member of the group said, “I feel very happy and proud of winning a medal in the tournament and I would like to thank the coach for guiding me with training.”

    He added, “It was quite difficult to get points to win but at least I’ve tried hard.”

    The achievements came as a surprise for the association.

    BSKA Acting President Dr Haji Kamaruddin said, “It was a really big surprise especially on the first day of the competition where we already managed one silver.”

    He continued, “It was a high level tournament with over 20 countries from Europe and others.”

    The president also shared that Malaysia sent their national team who competed in the Southeast Asian Games and Asian Games.

    “I am super proud of them. We have three silver and two bronze at the end of the day, but I was also made to understand that our losses were also very marginal.

    “I cannot ask for more. We were rewarded more than we expected and I think all Bruneian athletes should never give up hope.”

    He also called for a fairer selection process and that talented athletes should not be left out by the selection committee.

    “Brunei is a small country and we need to be inclusive. Everybody should be given a chance.”

    The three-day tournament was organised by the Turkiye Karate Federation.

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