Malay Judokas hope to promote Judo

Sport: SEA GAMES/Judo: Poor cousin seeks recognition
Fariq Rahman

UNLIKE taekwondo and karate, the judo team have a daunting task in the Vietnam SEA Games which begins this Friday.

Tham Chen Wai and Tan Chee Keong are competing in the Games to gain exposure.

But the two young exponents want to prove their participation in the Games is not just to make up the numbers.

Since they will travel to Ho Chi Minh City straight from their training base in Japan, they want to return to Malaysia with a medal each.

The duo are currently studying at the International Budo University in Chiba and they know they must succeed for judo to gain popularity in Malaysia. Although the 20-year-old Chen Wai and the 22-year-old Chee Keong lack the experience, they are determined to make it a memorable debut.

The duo will be participating under Category B, meaning Malaysian Judo Federation (MJF) will be sponsoring Chee Keong in the under-90kg, and Chen Wai in the over-100kg category.

MJF executive secretary I. Mariappan said the success of the two exponents will be a morale booster for the future of Malaysian judo.

"As much as I understand taekwondo has a big following in most of the schools, we are trying our best to promote the judo in schools too," said Mariappan.

"It will be tough for the two exponents since they lack international experience but they are no pushovers.

"We are looking for a favourable result to help us secure more funds to develop the sport".

Chee Keong competed in the 2000 Youth Championships in Singapore. He was a silver medallist in the 2001 Asian Championships in Hong Kong. He was a bronze medallist in the 2002 Inter-city Tournament in Hong Kong and in the Asean Championships in Ho Chi Minh City.

Chee Keong's coach in Japan, Hiroshi Yamamoto said in his report that Chee Keong is progressing well and could peak at the SEA Games.

Reptile, who occasionally posts here, and I are going to Vietnam on Friday to support the Singapore judo team in the SEA Games. Singapore is entering 5 players, two women, three men. They are all quite young and lack international experience but have worked hard this year for the event, including a month training in Taiwan recently and in Korea for a few weeks before that.

Chee Keong sounds like a pretty experienced player in comparision to our team, only one of whom has competed in the Commonwealth Games and a previous SEA Games.

Thailand, the Philippenes and Indonesia are the likely medal favorities in most categories. - Koga!

Oh hell yeah,
Philippines represent!

cid gumban (filipino)

Good luck to reptile.