The top spot of the medals table of the Karate competition at the Southeast Asian Games was seized by a dominant Malaysia team who emerged victorious with a tally of seven golds and ten medals which was evidence of their dominance in the South East region and thus confirming their monopoly in the regional Karate arena.
The event which saw athletes from the eleven Southeast Asian countries taking on each other on the tatamis, providing the perfect way to end the competition with a thrilling final day of Karate action of which the team events which comprise of the Team Kata and Team kumite events earned the lion share of the spotlight on to themselves.
After two successful days, representatives of the host country continued giving fans plenty of reasons to celebrate. The packed out arena in Kuala Lumpur burst with joy when local karatekas got two more golds, in Male Team Kata and Female Team Kumite.
Syakilla Salni Jefry Krishnan became the queen of the tournament as the 2017 Asian Championships bronze medallist added a new gold medal to her personal tally which includes the 2014 World Championship silver medal, the above mentioned 2017 Asian bronze medal and eight major medals which were earned at Karate 1 Premier League Tournaments. Syakilla Jefry shone at the -55kg Female Kumite event where she eliminated all competition one by one in her respective bouts to prevail on top in the end. This 25 year old fan favourite led the Malaysian team to dominate the Team Kumite event which saw the local side using the home advantage much to take things under their control and beat Vietnam 2-1 in the final.
The hosts welcomed their second gold medal of the day when Emmanuel Leong, Hoe Thomson and Lim Chee Wei’s Team Kata won the trio the Male Team Kata event. It could be said that the Malaysians rather cruised with ease to win the event over a staggering win over Indonesia which resulted in 5-0. The Malaysian flag on the top most spot on the podium was received with much fanfare and cheer by the crowded supporters in their own arena.
The Vietnamese delegation too also caught the attention on the closing day of the Karate competition as Vietnam’s Female Team Kata got back at hosts in the final of the category of choreographed movements. The Malaysian juggernaut was halted at one point by the Vietnamese where in the above event Vietnam emerged victorious over Malaysia in the title-deciding bout by a split decision of a close 3-2 which prevented the hosts from getting their hands on yet another gold.
Overall, the Vietnamese too put up quite the formidable resistance to the Malaysian karatekas where they (Vietnam) enjoyed opportunities to bounce back from the two defeats against hosts and claimed two golds from the Female Kumite +68kg category where Ho Thi Thu Hien dominated all bouts and in Male Kumite -84kg Nguyen Minh Phung overcame stiff competition in his bouts to finally win by an outstanding performance of an easy8-0 in finish at the end.