Male karatekas shut out
early at world championships

Moch. N. Kurniawan, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesia's men have yet to show their best at the 18th World Karate Federation Championships, with the kata team losing to Russia in the first round Friday and the kumite team shut out by Azerbaijan in the second.

The result was in contrast to the women, who finished fourth overall in the kata team category Thursday.

Speaking from Tampere, Finland, on Friday, team manager Madju Dharyanto blamed the results on a lack of experience.

""Some of our karatekas performed at the championships for the first time, unlike their opponents who have fought at the event for the past four or five years,"" he said.

Indonesia has sent 19 karatekas to the championships that run until Sunday. Six of the best will go to the Dec. 1-15 Asian Games in Doha and the rest are being groomed for next year's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Thailand.

With two-medal target for the championships, the country is now putting its hopes in male fighters Bambang Maulidin and Donny Dharmawan in the individual events. The two recently won golds at the Austria Open earlier this month.

Women's karateka Jeanny Zeannet, meanwhile, finish second overall in Austria.

Madju said the results of the Finland event would be a good indication of the strengths of foreign teams ahead of the 2007 Games.

In the 1996 WKF Championships, Indonesian men's karateka Abdul Kadir and women's fighter Nurasjati both finished fifth. Two years later, male karateka M. Umar Syarif finished fifth and female karateka Omita Olga Ompi was sixth. In 2002, only Bambang and Jeanny competed.

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