Indonesia’s karatekas confirmed their domination at the two-day WKF Karate1 Premier League by winning another gold medal on Sunday to emerge the overall champion with a total of four.
Sunday’s program, which contested six gold medals in the kumite competition, also gave the hosts another two silver and two bronze for a total of four silver and seven bronze medals.
Malaysia followed in second place with three gold, three silver and six bronze medals, with Venezuela making a top three standing with 2-0-4.
The athletes from regional archrivals Indonesia and Malaysia capitalized on the absence of several strong contenders from the world’s sport superpowers. Japan skipped the event, while Iran and France – the three being the top teams last year – had only one and two representatives, respectively, this year.
Indonesia’s fourth medal at the Istora Senayan, Jakarta, was delivered by Imam Tauhid Ragananda, who defeated Malaysia’s Rajakumar Govinash in the individual male seniors -60 division.
“This is remarkable. I really enjoyed this competition from the first round,” said 23-year-old Imam.
He said that this was his first gold medal at the premier league level. He previously collected gold medals at the 2010 Asia Pacific Shitoryu Karatedo Federation, 2010 ASEAN University Games, and Indonesia Open 2011 in the individual and team category.
Imam said he was really motivated in the tournament as this was his last chance to win a place in the national team for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar in December.
Govinash acknowledged Imam’s power and speed during the tough final match. “He caught me off guard,” he said, adding that home supporters had boosted his opponent as well.
Two silver medals on the day were contributed by Wiwi Pertiwi in the individual female seniors +68 and Srunita Sari Sukatendel in the individual female seniors -50.
Wiwi lost to Tatarova Dominika of Slovakia, while Srunita bowed out to Plank Bettina of Austria’s Osterreichischer Karatebund team.
Nuhadiyanti Fitrianingsih and Cesar George Isac gave the team their last two bronze medals in the individual female seniors -55 and in the individual male seniors +84, respectively.
The gold and silver medals in the individual female seniors -55 belonged to Wen Tzu-Yun of Chinese Taipei’s CTKF NSTC club and Alagasan Nisha of Malaysia.
Aponte Angel of Venezuela won the individual male seniors +84 after defeating Georgieff Angel of Australia in the final.
The Jakarta meet, which featured 213 athletes from 24 countries, is the fourth in a series of seven in the WKF Karate1 Premier League, following those in France, the Netherlands and Russia. Turkey, Germany and Austria will host the next three series.
Having proposed to become the only Asian destination for next year’s event, the Indonesian Karate-do Federation (FORKI) announced in a release on Sunday that they had obtained a continued pledge of sponsorship from state-owned BRI as their competition patron.
FORKI President Hendardji Soepandji applauded the team’s achievement, which he said surpassed the two-gold target.
“We had set a realistic target of two gold medals, as last year we only obtained one gold and four bronze medals,” he said.
He cautioned the athletes against self-complacency and urged them to shape up further for the next challenge.
“We will continue to upgrade their physical form, tactics and strategy in training camps and send them to more competitions,” he said.
The Indonesian team is scheduled to hold a training camp in Europe and Japan in October and November prior to their departure to Myanmar.
“The gold medalists in this tournament will automatically be included in the national team for the SEA Games, while there will be a meeting next week to select the others,” Hendardji said.
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