Hats off to the Penang karate kata team

PENANG karate kata exponents achieved a historic feat when they swept all the four gold medals at stake in the 2018 Sukma in Perak, making it the fourth straight edition they were the undisputed champions.

This incredible success is being envied by many contenders, who tried as they might, have so far failed to break Penang’s stranglehold on this martial art.

Ivan Oh Theng Wei, a Social Science student at Universiti Sains Malaysia, and Ariana Lim Junyi, a Sixth Former at Penang Chinese Girls’ High School, won the men’s individual and women’s individual kata titles respectively in the recent Sukma in Perak.

The victorious Penang karate kata team (front row, from left) Ivan Ho, Howart Tan, coaches Ku Jin Keat and Lim Lee Lee, Ariana Lim and Thor Chee Yee, (back row, from left) Chang Sin Yi, Cherlene Cheung, Yong Kojiro, Ooi San Hong and Ernie Tye.

The men’s kata team comprising Ooi San Hong, Ernie Tye Chun Chuen and Yong Kojiro, and the women’s kata team comprising Ariana Lim, Chang Sin Yi and Cherlene Cheung Xue Lin, proved too good for their rivals to walk away with the gold medals.

When a team has become champions year after year, there is a tendency for them to rest on their laurels. But not this karate kata team, especially the husband and wife coaching pair of former internationals Ku Jin Keat and Lim Lee Lee.

For those who can withstand their tough training and are able to take their harsh words, they will definitely come out stronger mentally and physically.

After flooring Sin Yi, Ariana delivers a kick at Cherlene during the Sukma women’s team competition.

“I’m very happy and proud of their performances. They deserved it. All the kata athletes are very disciplined,” said Lee Lee.

“I hope they will continue to train hard and do well and shine in the international arena. I must say their parents give me a free hand to teach their kids. They are always there to support us. Parental support is very important to help us develop the sports.

“Besides discipline, teamwork and contribution from the management of Penang State Sports Council from the director (Frederick Tan) to the drivers, the nutritionist and the Penang Karate Federation helped us in our performance.”

Penang Youth and Sports Committee chairman Soon Lip Chee (left) and Penang State Sports Council director Frederick Tan Teck An celebrating together with the Penang women’s karate kata members (from left) Sin Yi, Ariana and Cherlene at the prize presentation ceremony.

The competition is getting tougher every year and there is no doubt that other states are gunning to dethrone Penang.

But for Lee Lee, who was ranked fifth in the world in 2010, and Jin Keat, the 2010 Asian Games gold medallist, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

“We will continue to develop more young kids for the future,” Lee Lee said.

Story by K.H. Ong