‘We are not jaguh kampung’

Taekwondo (WT) exponents strike a blow for Sarawak sports

Venue for Sukma XVIII 2016 taekwondo competition in Kuching.

(From left) Shirley Kua, Marena Tee, Master Tan and Jenny Soh at the 11th Asian Taekwondo Championship 2013.

HAS taekwondo (WT) grown by leaps and bounds in Sarawak but remains a least talked-about sport?

Certainly, it has enjoyed considerable success of late in the state and country.

Persatuan  Taekwondo Negeri Sarawak (PTNS —WT) has been tasked with looking  after the martial art sport (WT) in    Sarawak.

According to its president Mohamad Salleh Sani, the formation of the association was approved by the Sports Commissioner Office on March 31, 2010.

The association’s job is to manage the affairs of Taekwondo (WT) in Sarawak after the two former state bodies — Sarawak Taekwondo Federation (STF) and the Persatuan Taekwondo Gabungan Sarawak (PTGS) — were disbanded.

“Persatuan Taekwondo Negeri Sarawak (WT) is the only state governing body for the sport, recognised by Taekwondo Malaysia (WT) and eligible to participate in the Malaysian Games (Sukma), SEA Games, Asian Games and Olympic Games.”

Despite the problems besetting taekwondo (WTF) in Malaysia before the registration of Taekwondo Malaysia (WT), taekwondo, as a martial art and competitive sport, is still popular in the state.

Saleh said there are now some 20 affiliated clubs and more than 1,500 training centres/schools registered under the PTNS (WT) in Sarawak.

The passel of clubs are Kuching Taekwondo & Self-Defence Club (WTF); Kelab Taekwondo SMART (WTF); Kelab Taekwondo Bumi Kenyalang (WTF); Kelab Taekwondo Perdana (WTF); KTS Taekwondo Club (WTF); Rajang Taekwondo Club (WTF); Union Taekwondo Club (WTF); Meradong Taekwondo Club (WTF); Kelab Taekwondo Metro (WTF); Kelab Taekwondo Sri Sibu (WTF); Bandar Kuching Taekwondo Club (WTF); Kelab Taekwondo KTM (WTF); Kelab Taekwondo PTGS (WTF); Kelab Taekwondo SWIN (WTF); Kelab Taekwondo KTK (WTF); Kelab Taekwondo KTL (WTF); Kelab Taekwondo Nangka (WTF); Pusat Seni Mempertahankan Diri Taekwondo Action (WTF); Kelab Taekwondo Champion Serian (WTF) and Kelab Taekwondo Kota Samarahan (WTF).

Persatuan Taekwondo Negeri Sarawak (WT) is also lucky to have an avid fan, supporter and leader in Azizul Annuar Adenan, its deputy president.

According to Azizul, the association has over the years roped in several coaches and professionals with international experience.

He said they had helped train and develop potential exponents, consistently improving their standards in both national and international championships.

Azizul pointed out that although still new, PTNS (WT) has successfully hosted major international events such as the Sportsexcel-National Sports Council (NSC)-Milo-Taekwondo Malaysia (WTF) National Circuit 2012, the 7th Taekwondo Malaysia (WTF)-NSC-Milo National Taekwondo Championship 2016, Sukma XVIII in 2016, the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Borneo Cup International Taekwondo Championship and many others.

“For the record, our association has been given the Best Sports Association Award by the state government in 2013 and 2014.

“We also captured the Taekwondo Malaysia (WT) Best State Association Award in 2015 and 2016. These are some of our achievements since the formation of our association in 2010.”

Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan (third right) with Master Tan (second left), Mohd Salleh (fourth left), Azizul (second right) and Master Dhanaraj Rassiah (right) at the opening ceremony of Sarawak Chief Minister Borneo Cup International Taekwondo Championship 2017.

Azizul said PTNS (WT) had groomed several national and international medallists over the past seven years.

He recalled the Sarawakian combination of Ahmady Radi and Morren Urai Lian was the one that got Malaysia on the scoreboard with the bronze in the Poomsae Mixes event at the 26th SEA Games in 2011 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

He said four other exponents — Nurul Nur Hafizza, Nurul Hidayah Abdul Karim, Nur Ifa Husna Saiful and Marylyne Bungan Lian — from PTNS (WT)  represented Malaysia in both the Poomsae and Kyorugi events at the 29th SEA Games 2017 in Kuala Lumpur. They contributed one bronze medal.

Female exponents — Marena Tee, Shirley Kua and Jenny Soh – also did the country proud by scooping two bronze medals at the 11th Asean ATF Taekwondo Championship in 2013 in Myanmar.

Furthermore, eight young exponents —Tan Yen Ming, Nurul Nur Hafizza, Nurul Fatihah Roslan, Caren Li, Augustine Rudy Grocer, Nurul Hidayah, Nur Ifa and Marylyne — from PTNS (WT) donned national colours at the 13th Asean ATF Taekwondo Championship 2017 in Perlis, bagging three silver and four bronze medals in both the Poomsae and Kyorugi events.

At the national level, PTNS (WT) made its Sukma debut in Pahang in 2012. The team, led by state technical chairman Master Tan Check Joon, delivered four gold, two silver and two bronze medals to emerge overall champions.

Tan said the victory showed PTNS (WT) exponents are not “jaguh kampung,” adding that the exponents proved their mettle again in the 2014 Sukma in Perlis by bagging four gold and three silver medals for Sarawak.

“Our best achievements came in the 2016 Sukma on homeground when our exponents chalked up an impressive haul of eight gold, three silver and three bronze medals to again emerge overall champions,” he enthused.

Azizul is confident that with commitment and dedication, the state’s young talents can also achieve such an impressive feat on the international stage.

He expressed optimism that with the guidance of experienced coaches and officials, the young talents could take taekwondo to the next level and make it the premier sport in the state.

“Our record in producing more and more medallists for major events such as the SEA Games, the Asian Games and the World Taekwondo Championship in the last few years speaks for itself.”

There have been smooth as well as challenging times since 2010 and in both scenarios, Azizul said he continued to enjoy working with “the tremendously committed” committee members, officials and coaches.

He said PTNS (WT) has carried out its development programmes to further promote taekwondo throughout Sarawak.

He revealed the association had also sent its affiliates, officials, coaches and members for tournaments, seminars and workshops.

“We want to help them become ‘all-round professionals’ not only on the academic and technical aspects of the sport but at managerial and problem-solving levels as well.”

SEA Games exponents from Sarawak and PTNS officials — (from left) Master Tan, Nurul Hidayah, Nur Ifa, Marylyne, Nurul Nur and Azizul Annuar.

Taekwondo background

According to the World Taekwondo (WT), taekwondo is one of the most systematic and scientific Korean traditional martial arts, that teaches more than physical fighting skills.

“It is a discipline that shows ways of enhancing our spirit and life through training our body and mind.

“Today, it has become a global sport that has gained an international reputation, and stands among the official games in the Olympics.”

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art, characterised by its emphasis on head-height kicks, jumping and spinning kicks, and fast kicking techniques.

The name Taekwondo is derived from the Korean word “Tae” meaning foot, “Kwon” meaning fist and “Do” meaning way of.

So, literally Taekwondo means “the way of the foot and fist.”

Taekwondo today is just as exciting as ever.

Formerly known as the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), the organisation changed its name to WT in June this year because of ‘negative connotations’ that came with its acronym WTF.

The federation’s original name was used since its establishment in 1973.

However their president Choue Chung-won felt that it was important to rebrand the organisation to engage better with fans.

Under the leadership of the WT, taekwondo has grown into an international art and sport practiced worldwide with 208 member national federations worldwide.

WT had led taekwondo to the Olympic Games and in 2020 will have the honour of seeing taekwondo at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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