AT first, it seemed Covid-19 had delivered a killer chop to the Malaysian karatekas.
Their hopes of appearing in the Tokyo Olympics, and winning a medal, were delayed for a year due to postponement. But it could be a blessing in disguise too.
“We were eagerly waiting for the sport to make its Olympic debut.
“Our athletes trained hard for the qualifier which was supposed to be held around this period (in April),” said Malaysia Karate Federation (Makaf) secretary general Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad.
“We have a dream to win a medal in karate’s Olympic debut. But it looks like we will have to wait a little longer,” said Nur Azmi.
Is Olympic postponement a good thing or a disaster for Malaysia?
“A blessing actually because we had placed all our hopes on a single athlete earlier and it almost backfired on Makaf.
“We are wiser now, and have spread our focus on at least five athletes.
“Three kata and two kumite athletes will be groomed for the next one year. Covid has actually extended us more time to work on them,” said Nur Azmi.
Syakilla Salni Jefry Krisnan, who won an Asian Games gold in 2014, was Makaf’s only golden hope for the 2020 Olympics earlier, but she has dropped out of the picture due to several issues.