Six karate world champions on Indonesia’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games squad are looking to capture seven of 17 gold medals on offer for the event at the Games.
Indonesian Karate Association (Forki) chief Hendardji Supandji said that men’s team kata, or form category, and women’s team kata would likely do well in the medal race.
“We are very confident of reaching the target because our athletes won gold medals in events at the Karate World Championships in Turkey last month,” Hendardji said on the sidelines of a national training session at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium at the Bung Karno sports complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta, on Thursday.
Women’s team competitors , Dewi, Yulianti and Sisilia won gold medals after performing Haiku, while Faisal Zainudiin, Aswar and Fidelys Lolobua on men’s team displayed Kururunfa during the match.
“We have world champs on the squad,” Hendardji said. “They beat out strong contenders such as Japan and Iran, leaving Indonesia as world No. 3 in the Turkey championships.”
As part of the squad’s preparation for the Games, athletes went through eight tryouts and training camps in Japan and several European countries, he said.
“We started national training early, two years ago. We are really prepared. … The eight tryouts and the fact that we are hosting the Games makes the seven-gold target a realistic one,” Hendardji said.
Malaysia and Vietnam would be Indonesia’s strongest rivals during the Games, he added.
Fidelys, a gold medalist at the 2007 and 2009 Games, is hoping to win two gold medals in this year’s Games, which are slated to run from Nov. 11 to 22 in Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra.
“We are on fire right now. All that’s in our head is karate. Nothing else matters,” Fidelys said after the training.
“It would be nice for me, personally, to help the team grab more gold medals … If in other tournaments we did our best, this time, we will work wholeheartedly for our home supporters,” he added.
Karate matches are scheduled to start in the Tennis Indoor Senayan stadium at the on Nov. 12.