Indonesia’s Best Face Star-Studded WKF Lineup
Ami Afriatni & Wimbo Satwiko
Indonesia’s top karate competitors have modest goals for themselves as some of the world’s best descend on Jakarta.
More than 300 top competitors from 30 countries will take part in the World Karate Federation Karate1 Premier League event on Saturday and Sunday at Gelora Bung Karno Tennis Indoor Stadium.
The tournament, the third of six Karate1 series this season, is part of the WKF’s effort to boost the martial art’s world profile and give its athletes more opportunities to compete.
Indonesia is targeting at least two gold medals, likely from the men’s and women’s team kata, or form, event. Both teams won gold in that event at a Karate1 series last year in Istanbul.
“It’ll be tough because top karateka from Iran and European countries will be here,” Aswar, who won in Istanbul with Faizal Zainuddin and Fidelys Lolobua, said on Thursday. “Last year we’d been training together for more than a year, including a training camp in Japan, before competing in Turkey. Now, we have only been together since April.
“However, we’ll do our best and try not to disappoint the home crowd.”
Aswar went on to say that Indonesian competitors were on par technically with the world’s best.
“It’ll be down to mental toughness to win it, and I believe we can,” he said.
Yulianti Syafruddin, Sisilia and Dewi Prasetya were in the women’s team that won in Istanbul, and coach Omita Olga Ompi said they were ready to repeat that result in Jakarta.
“It will be a close competition, but nothing is impossible,” Omita said.
Another medal hopeful is Faizal in the individual kata, though he will likely face fierce competition against world champion Antonio Diaz of Venezuela.
Other top competitors in the series include women’s individual kata world champion Yohana Sanchez of Venezuela, women’s kumite (fighting event) -75-kilogram world champion Kristina Mah of Australia and women’s kumite -55-kg world champion Miki Kobayashi of Japan.
Several 2010 Asian Games gold medalists, such as women’s kata winner Rika Usami of Japan and men’s kumite -75-kg champion Hamad Al Noaeem of Kuwait, will also take part.