(Pic, Top: L-R) National wushu
exponents Karyn Ho Chia Yin,
Lee YingShi and Faustina Woo
Wai Sii. (Pic, Above) Lee in action
in Jakarta yesterday.Pictures:
It will take years before Brunei can honestly say it is capable of consistently challenging for medals in wushu.
The country's lack of experience was the main reason the national exponents failed to get on the podium at the 26th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games here yesterday, when all three of the Sultanate's athletes saw action at the Tennis Indoor Senayan Stadium, Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex.
Though the sport has won the critics over after bagging a host of medals since it was introduced in the Sultanate four years ago, Brunei's trio of Faustina Woo Wai Sii, 19, Lee YingShi, 17, and Karyn Ho Chia Yin, 16, found it hard to match their opponents in yesterday's nandao (southern broad sword) and changquan (long fist) events.
Some of the teenagers' competitors have been involved in wushu before the trio were even born, proving that there is no substitute for experience.
Competing individually in changquan, Lee scored 9.24 points to finish fourth while Ho was last in the field of five entries with 8.70. Vietnam's Mai Phuong Nguyen (9.71) took the gold medal while Indonesia's Susyana Tjhan (9.70) and Vietnam's Thi Phuong Giang Hoang (9.43) took silver and bronze, respectively.
In the first of a two-part event, Woo scored 9.40 in yesterday's nandao to head into today's nangun (southern cudgel) on fifth. Malaysia's Diana Bong Siong Lin (9.72) and Cheau Xuen Tai (9.70) are at the top of the table, with Indonesia's Dessy Indri Astuti (9.60) and Ivana Adelia Irmanto (9.33) fourth and last respectively.
The 10-point total is decided by a panel of three judges, who award points based on different criteria.
The first awards a maximum of five points based on quality of movement, the second gives three points for overall performance and the third two points for aerial movement. It was in the aerial movement department where top exponents can execute high jumps, difficult turns and stable lands which Brunei lost out on.
In the second of three intensive overseas training programmes, the team were in Shanghai for 50 days after the 6th Asian Junior Wushu Championships in August in Shanghai where Lee and Ho won gold in duilian (duo sparring with broadsword and spear).
But when the subject was brought up, national coach Li Hui laughed at the idea that the country's athletes could improve their aerial ability in mere months.
"Months? It will take years!," exclaimed Li.
"Look at the Malaysian (Bong), she has been training for 18 years.
"Brunei has only been in wushu for four years. Before that there was nothing. The other countries have been in wushu for 20 years already.
"Our athletes have learnt all the difficult moves, but it (aerial movement) is still our weakness. Though they are quite new their overall movement was quite good. I'm also happy they weren't nervous at all.
"They need confidence. Don't be scared. Right now they just need to work on their aerial difficulty. I have confidence that if we keep on training, then yes, we can win gold at the next SEA Games (in Myanmar in 2013).
"They must train hard and I have to be strict with them. That's a must!
"Don't be scared of hard work. If you want good results you must work hard. You won't get anything if you're lazy," warned the 39-year-old coach.
Hailing from Hebei, China, Li has also been working hard on his English and Malay.
The ease with which he conducted the interview yesterday was proof of all the effort he has put in to master the two languages. His oldest pupil here in Jakarta also has something to show for all her sweat and sacrifice.
Woo won the country's only wushu medal in the Games when she clinched bronze in Friday's nanquan (southern fist), where she placed higher than some of the more experienced names for example Bong, who won silver during October's World Wushu Championships in Turkey, only finished fifth with 9.44.
Woo picked up 9.48 points, with Indonesia securing gold through Ivana Ardelia Irmanto (9.60). Malaysia's Cheau Xuen Tai took silver with 9.55.
Ho will join Woo in taking to the floor today.
Ho, who scored 9.17 in jianshu (swordplay) on Friday despite competing with a sprained ankle, will complete the second part of the event qiangshu (spear).
Indonesia's Susyana Tjhan (9.72) edged Myanmar's Sando Oo (9.71) and Vietnam's Thuy Vi Duong (9.70) after Friday's round of play.
Courtesy from Brunei Times