“We are working towards that goal and is aiming to have at least one female representative in the national Olympic squad,” he said on PTNS’ long term plans of grooming potential world class exponents among the present state squad members.
Presently Sarawak has nine promising female exponents in its stable and they had competed in the recent Pahang Sukma where the state contingent emerged overall champions after narrowly edged Terengganu in the medal tally.
The state squad members are Annie Kung Ling Ting, Dayang Farhanah Abang Sazali, Phung Jin Wen, Jenny Soh Foh Mee, sisters Marlisa and Marena Tee Zulariffin, Dina Kuan, Shirley Kua Xiao Ziew.
Salleh together with his technical committee chairman, Tan Chek Joon however are keeping mum on the names of the potential candidates for fear that it will put unnecessary pressure onto them if the matter was to be disclosed so soon.
“We will not announce the candidates that soon because it will only put unnecessary pressure to them but in the end there will be at least one of them for the coming Olympics,” said Salleh.
PTNS are spoiled for choice in their final selection because Sarawak has a good pool of female exponents who have stamped their marks in recent national and international events.
They include the recent Pahang Sukma heavyweight champion, Shirley Kua who also won gold in last year’s 3rd National Taekwondo Malaysia (WTF)-NSC-Milo Sparring Championship held Kuala Lumpur.
Rida and Annie Kung are also among the potentials after they delivered a gold medal each for Sarawak in last year’s Indosat Open Taekwondo Championship held in Pontianak, Kalimantan, Indonesia.
Other contenders who may fit the bill include Pahang Sukma gold medallist, Dayang Farhanah who won the flyweight category and national sparring champions Marena and Wong Ing Sing.
They are all still young at age and are expected to be fully groomed in time for the Olympics.
On its immediate plans to give exposure for local exponents, PTNS will soon be organising the state level inter-division championship in March to be held in Kuching.
The event which is expected to attract top exponents from all the divisions is also aimed to select state representatives who will be recommended for the national SEA Games squad.
According to its technical committee chairman, Tan Teck Joon the association is planning to send at least three of its exponents for trials and training with the Myanmar-bound national SEA Games squad.
“There will be at least three exponents who we will recommend to the national squad and hopefully they will compete in this year’s SEA Games,” Tan said on the coming championship which is one of the association’s calendar of events this year.
Apart from that Sarawak exponents will have the opportunity to compete against their counterparts from overseas in the coming Borneo City Cup Invitational Taekwondo Competition to be held in August and is expected to attract 200 exponents from eight countries.
During the 1992 Olympics, one of Sarawak’s exponents competed in taekwondo which was then a demonstration event and in the 2000 Olympics held in Sydney Australia, former state Sukma coach Lee Wan Yuen created history after becoming the first Malaysian to qualify for the competition.
Malaysia’s achievement in the Olympics was only through M. Vasugi who won a bronze medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics but taekwondo was just a demonstration event.
Malaysia did not send any representatives for last year’s London Olympics because of the problem with the deregistered Malaysia Taekwondo Association (MTA) in 2005 and had since been taken over by Taekwondo Malaysia (TM).
With all the dusts settled down, TM has to work together with its state affiliates including PTNS to quickly identify, select and train the potential Olympians for the games which is just three years away.
Source: Borneo Post Online