Brunei's Md Izzuddin Irfan Md Faizal (R) in action during yesterday's 84kg and above category final against Johor's Julius Goh at SUKMA. Md Izzuddin won the match 9-2 to give Brunei its first gold medal at Perlis. Bernama
Md Izzuddin Irfan Md Faizal sprang a surprise by winning Brunei's first gold medal in karatedo at the 17th SUKMA competition at Kolej Matrikulasi Perlis, Arau yesterday.
The result means that Brunei has improved on its medal haul during its last participation at the Under-21 multi-sport tournament where the 2012 team finished last after returning with four bronze medals in Pahang - and were the only team not to have won gold or silver.
The 19-year-old Md Izzuddin beat Julius Goh of Johor 9-2 in the 84kg and above category final to achieve the historic feat while V Devaraj from the Federal Territories and P Navin from Negeri Sembilan were awarded bronze medals as losing semifinalists.
"Thank you to the team and coaches who assisted and supported me in SUKMA this time, I am very excited after contributing the first gold medal to Brunei in my debut at SUKMA," Md Izzuddin was quoted as saying on Malaysian national news agency Bernama.
"I also hope the athletes of Brunei will not easily give up and spring a surprise or two in their respective sport. "They must be confident and work hard," Md Izzudin told reporters.
Md Izzudin, who is waiting to further his studies after completing his schooling at the Pengiran Jaya Negara (SMPJN) Pengiran Hj Abu Bakar Secondary School in Mumong, now works part-time at a Coffee Bean branch in Brunei.
"After completing school, I started working part-time at Coffee Bean. I started karate-do at the end of 2012 (and) now I am a back up athlete in Brunei," said Md Izzuddin, who aspires to become a pilot. Penang emerged overall champions in karate-do after collecting eight gold medals, one silver and five bronze medals.
The winner of the gold medal in the Under 84kg category, Chew Han Tiong said team spirit spurred his team to be more consistent and exemplary in every event. Han Tiong clinched the gold medal by beating challenger R Navindran 6-0 while bronze medals were awarded to AB Burrahman Adha Jamaludin of Terengganu and S Manesh from Negeri Sembilan.
Brunei have sent a 25-member contingent to compete in five sports in Perlis - with athletics, pencak silat, sepak takraw and taekwando the other four. Though the 51-athlete team won four bronze medals in Pahang in 2012, three of them were shared. The pencak silat team won three while cycling - who are not in the contingent this year - grabbed one.
Terengganu, overall champions in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012, are currently leading the medal tally in Perlis with 16 gold, 10 silver and seven bronze medals.
Penang are second on 10 gold, three silver and five bronze while the Federal Territories are third with seven gold, 11 silver and nine bronze.