File photo shows Brunei karateka Muhammad Hanizam Sanif (in red) tries to kick his Vietnamese opponent in the repercharge of the men's team kumite event of the 27th SEA Games last December at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium A in Naypyidaw. BT File
National karate coach Hj Okhida Simangasing remains optimistic that karate will be one of the sports competed at the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore next year.
Singapore announced that they will host 30 sports during the competition and karate is not included in the list.
They named aquatics, athletics, sailing, table tennis, canoeing, bowling, wushu, fencing, netball, gymnastics, billiards and snooker, hockey, softball, waterskiing, golf, football, shooting, badminton, cycling, tennis, pencak silat, sepaktakraw, rugby, basketball, traditional boat race, archery, triathlon, judo, taekwondo and squash as the sports that will feature at the biennial games.
"We will wait until the very end. we still have plenty of time to push Singapore to include karate in the SEA Games," said the national coach in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.
Last year, the national team bagged two medals, one silver and one bronze at the 27th edition of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar.
Muhd Fida'iy Sanif delivered on the silver medal after losing 8-6 to Ramon Antonino Franco of the Philippines in the men's under 55kg kumite.
The bronze medal came courtesy of Mairul Muhammad who edged Myanmar's San Toe in the repechage of the men's under 60kg kumite after both were deadlocked at 3-3 in regulation time.
"For now we will be focusing on other regional tournaments such as the Malaysian Games (SUKMA) in Perlis Malaysia and the Asian Championship in Korea,"
"All we need to do is just to keep training and pray that karate will be included in Singapore next year," he added.
Karate has been in the SEA Games programme for the last 20 years and Singapore's decision to leave the sport in the event had surprised many nations.
Malaysia is one of the countries that is very much affected by the exclusion of the sport.
Karate has contributed the most number of gold medals for Malaysia at previous editions of the Games.
Malaysia hauled seven gold medals, three silver medals and five bronze at the SEA Games in Myanmar, while at the 2007 SEA Games in Korat, Thailand, the sport contributed eight gold medals.
"There is nothing much more that the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) can do since Singapore have made their decision.
"They will continue with their decision. We sympathise with the Malaysian Karate Federation (MAKAF)," said Olympic Council of Malaysia president Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja'afar after an OCM meeting on Saturday.
"Karate is a good sport in our country. I feel sympathy for karate, we have tried very hard, they (karate exponents) have done Malaysia proud over the years but if Singapore does not want it, what can we do?..they are the hosts," he said.
The OCM however had not given up but would pursue the matter of getting karate included until the very end.