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by Ting Tieng Hee, reporters@theborneopost.com. Posted on July 8, 2012, Sunday

KUANTAN: The Sarawak Taekwondo Association (PTNS) created history when its team emerged the overall champions for the first time in the taekwondo competition in Sukma XV on Friday.

VICTORIOUS: Salleh (third right), PTNS deputy president Dato Lau Kueng Chai (fourth right) and the Sarawak taekwondo team celebrate after being crowned overall champions at Sukma XV on Friday. — Photo by Lim Chee Sen

The state team won four gold, two silver and two bronze medals to top the medals table ahead of Terengganu who had four golds but one silver less than Sarawak, and two bronzes.

Third were Selangor with three golds, two silvers and three bronzes.

The result for Sarawak at this Sukma was very good, considering that they only won two golds in Terengganu Sukma in 2008.

Sarawak did not participate in taekwondo in 2010 due to a crisis involving two associations; Sarawak Taekwondo Association (ITF) and Sarawak Taekwondo Association (WTF).

PTNS president Mohd Salleh Sani attributed the success to the great teamwork among the 15-member team, coaches and officials.

“This is a historic achievement for Sarawak. We set the target of winning four golds and we have attained that target and what’s more meaningful is that we are the overall champions,” Salleh said when met yesterday morning. According to him, the chief coach Kochphoom Mimmit, who is the Thailand national coach, was instrumental in guiding the state exponents to victory.

“We will decide in a meeting how to reward him,” he said.

Salleh said the two training stints in Thailand for one week and one month respectively also helped greatly because the state exponents were able to spar with Thailand’s national exponents.

“We are also very grateful to our chef de mission and Assistant Minister of Sports Datuk Lee Kim Shin for approving the purchase of the electronic protector system costing RM59,000 which has helped our exponents improve in their scoring,” he added.

He also extended his gratitude and appreciation to Sarawak Plantations Berhad and Datuk Hamden Ahmad as well as others for their strong support in funding the state team’s exposure trips to Thailand and Indonesia.

Buoyed by the success in Sukma XV, Salleh said PTNS are now planning to restructure the Centres of Development and Centres of Excellence for taekwondo in the state.

“We are also planning to reach out to Kapit and other smaller towns in our search for more talents to be groomed into calibre exponents to meet the challenge for Sukma 2014 in Perlis and Sukma 2016 when we host the Games,” said Salleh.

Meanwhile, Sarawak taekwondo golds were won by Dayang Farhanah Abang Sazali (women’s fly weight), Shirley Kua (women’s heavy weight), Marlissa Tee Zulariffin (women’s welter weight) and Tiong Hung Teng (men’s middle weight) and the silvers were delivered by Marena Tee Zulariffin (women’s middle weight) and Tey Yen Khai (men’s heavy weight).

Low Kwong Yew won the men’s welter weight bronze while Phung Jin Wen bagged the women’s feather weight bronze.

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