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Can kempo team end Brunei's gold search?
Thursday, November 17, 2011

Brunei's Muhamad Shamsul Makmun and Muhammad Ali-Rashid Mohd Alipah in action in yesterday's first round of the shorinji kempo kumi embu (artistic) pair yudansha event at the Ciracas Sports Hall in Jakarta. Picture: BT/ Jason Thomas

National kempo pair into 2nd round

The national shorinji kempo team might just save Brunei some blushes here at the 26th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

As of yesterday, the country has only won one silver and six bronze medals with the search for that all-elusive gold medal still ongoing.

But with the kumi embu (artistic) pair yudansha of Muhammad Ali-Rashid Mohd Alipah and Muhamad Shamsul Makmun second to Indonesia after yesterday's first round at the Ciracas Sports Hall here, a gold medal might just be on the cards after today's second round.

Indonesia lead the six-team standings with 264 points while Brunei are on 255 and Thailand 253. Vietnam finished yesterday with 250, followed by Laos (249) and Malaysia (244). The scores of yesterday's first round and today's second round will be totalled and divided by two to decide the medallists.

Agus Tanimoto found nothing wrong with the pair's display and felt a podium finish was realistic.

"Our technique was good, our confidence was good," said the team's coach.

"It's just that Indonesia are in the group, and they have been in the sport for the past 48 years.

"But if they somehow lose focus tomorrow (today) ... ," said the 51-year-old Tanimoto.

A Japanese martial art based on Shaolin kung fu, shorinji kempo only took hold of Brunei early this year though the country's exponents have already done Brunei proud by winning medals in regional meets.

Team manager Major Mohd Talib Hj Mohd Tahir said this year's SEA Games marks the first time shorinji kempo is being competed in a multi-sport event which would add to the allure of any medal.

Like his coach, Muhammad Ali-Rashid seemed confident a podium finish was within sight.

"I'm happy with the performance, we put a lot of heart in it," said Muhammad Ali-Rashid.

"I was a little bit nervous because of the Indonesian supporters, but I'm sure we'll definitely do a lot better in the second round," he added.

Also taking to the floor yesterday was Dzulhusmie Hj Kahan, who competed in the men's randori (sparring) event in the below 50kg class.

Though he lost 10-0 to Vietnam's Nguyen Ba Tan in his first pool game, he is still in the running for medals as he will take to the court against Cambodia's Patn Seran today.

Seven competitors are divided into two pools, with the top two advancing to a cross-over semi-final on Saturday.

Dzulhusmie who won gold in the same event during September's SEA Games trial run at the same venue is lucky that his group only has three contestants, giving him an easier route to the semis, which automatically guarantee a bronze medal.

"He won gold here in his last event so maybe he just wasn't warmed up yet," offered Tanimoto.

"God willing, Dzulhusmie can also improve and qualify for the next round," he added.

Also set to see action today are Rafidah Hj Rosli in the women's randori below 45kg class. Rafidah will also join Muhamad Shamsul in the mixed embu event.

Courtesy from Brunei Times