Karim (centre) and (from second right) Ong and Snowdan celebrating Sarawak’s first medals with wushu medallists and officials at Kolej Matrikulasi Perak yesterday.

IPOH: Wushu lived up to expectations to deliver the first gold medal for the Sarawak Contingent in Sukma XIX on the first day of competition at Kolej Matrikulasi Perak in Gopeng yesterday.

The Sarawak camp, with the 84-strong support group led by Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, cheered Lee Hui Xian to the gold medal in the women’s nandao.

National back-up athlete Hui Xuan, who hails from Kuching, put on a sterling performance to score 9.54 points to beat Melaka’s national exponent Tan Cheong Min (9.46) and Perak’s Wong Xin Yi (9.35) into second and third place.

Karim had actually expected the first gold to come from either Elvin Bong Qian Zheng in the men’s jianshu or Clement Ting Su Wei in the men’s gunshu but he was kept waiting anxiously until the very last event.

Together with Karim was Sarawak Contingent chef-de-mission Datuk Snowdan Lawan, assistant chef-de-mission for wushu Allen Wong Siew Poh, who is also Wushu Federation of Sarawak president, and Sarawak Sports Corporation CEO Dr Ong Kong Swee.

“Today we managed to get our first gold as expected from wushu and not only one gold but also two silver and one bronze as well. This is our target today and we have achieved it,” said Karim who presented the medals for the women’s nandao event.

“I wish to congratulate Lee for winning our first gold and other athletes who have contributed medals. Hopefully with this gold, it will inspire other athletes to deliver more gold medals in the next few days.

“I am very very happy for the team and so far we are on track for many medals especially gold,” he added.

Karim was also due to visit the cricket and rhythmic gymnastics venues later yesterday to render moral support to the state athletes before attending the Sukma XIX opening ceremony at Perak Stadium.

Sarawak are now second in the medal table with one gold, two silver and one bronze behind Melaka (3-1-0) and ahead of Johor (1-0-0).