National kempo coach Agus
Tanimoto (R) says fitness tests
should be a guide not compulsory.
Picture: BT/ Jason Thomas
Agus Tanimoto is ruing the country's decision to send only four shorinji kempo exponents to the 26th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Despite ending the biennial tournament as the most dominant of any of the 11 teams the Sultanate brought to Indonesia, the national coach felt the team could have finished with more than two silver medals had they more athletes.
The sport was only introduced in Brunei this year, and though a team of 12 were shortlisted for the Games, only five passed the mandatory fitness tests one would later pull out due to injury.
"Alhamdullilah ... We have got these two medals," said Tanimoto said on Sunday.
"I want to thank His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah (the President of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council) for all his support.
"If we had more athletes here I'm sure we could have won more medals ... But this is fate I guess. If we had a team of 12 I'm sure we could have won two more silver medals and four bronze.
"Sure, some of our athletes might not have passed the fitness tests ... (but) kempo has only been in Brunei for seven months, so it is not possible for all the athletes to pass the fitness tests (which are set at 85 per cent).
"If we keep training I am sure we will pass the tests and get the required 85 per cent in two years (ahead of the next Games).
"Those that didn't pass ranged from 67 per cent to 80 per cent ... (but) as a coach, I know my athletes. They only compete for two minutes (during each event). What is important is they put up a good performance in that time.
"So the tests should be a guide not compulsory.
"The important thing is that we become kempo champions, not fitness champions!," stressed the Indonesian.
Hailing from Surabaya, the 51-year-old coach should know what kempo champions are made of since his country has been at the sport for just as long 48 years to be exact.
Indonesia highlighted their dominance in kempo, which was contested at a multi-sport event for the first time, by winning half of all the gold medals up for grabs and ending the seven-country competition as overall champions.
The hosts finished with eight gold, seven silver and one bronze medal, with Vietnam in second with four gold, three silver and six bronze medals.
Laos were third on one gold, two silver and seven bronze medals.
Malaysia was the only country not to win medal in the sport.
All four members of the Brunei team, Muhammad Ali-Rashid Alipah, Muhamad Shamsul Makmun, Dzulhusmie Hj Kahan and Rafidah Hj Rosli, combined to win the country its second silver at the Ciracas Sports Hall here in the mixed dantai embu (artistic) group yudansha on Sunday.
Two days before that the duo of Muhammad Ali-Rashid and Muhamad Shamsul, who have only been partners since September, won silver in the kumi embu (artistic) pair yudansha.
Brunei had to play second fiddle to Indonesia in both instances.
"Our technique has to improve if we want to beat Indonesia," admitted Tanimoto, who will now focus his attention on the final phase of training for the Under-21 team the country will send to the Borneo Games in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, from Dec 4-11.
The Sultanate have already proved they can win gold in the sport when Dzulhusmie clinched the randori (sparring) event (Class 50kg) during a SEA Games trial in September at the same venue.
Brunei would also return with two silver and two bronze medals.
Rafidah and Muhamad Shamsul finished second in the mixed kumi embu (artistic) pair yudansha and combined with Muhammad Ali-Rashid and Pg Hj Mohd Rudiwasni Pg Hj Mohd Daud in the mixed dantai embu (artistic) group yudansha for the other silver.
Pg Hj Mohd Rudiwasni also won bronze in the randori (Class 70kg) event, with Mohd Shamsul and Muhammad Ali-Rashid winning the other bronze in the kumi embu (artistic) pair yudansha.
Courtesy from Brunei Times