Last Sunday, a private Malaysian karate team, which had travelled to Paris on credit with the assistance of a local travel agency, clinched the French Karate International Open, earning the country’s first gold medal in an international tournament.
The team consist of 9 members which encountered discrimination while attempting to gather funds for the meet in Lyon. Against all odds, the team returned home with at least a medal each in the tournament, where 12 countries took part besides the home team, including India, Japan, Ukraine, Romania and Italy.
Minalochuni Pathmanathan, head of the International Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Sei-bu-kan Karate Do Association of Malaysia (IOSSKAM), praised the accomplishment as “exhilarating.”
“The gold medal earned by Nivashini Sivaraman, 17, in the Kata category for the 15-17 age group, was the crowning moment. I think this is Malaysia’s first gold medal in a global karate event,” she expressed.
The 26-year-old Minalochuni credited the result to the members’ great team spirit and discipline, saying they were “desperate” to succeed after being “demeaned” by some of the organisations they approached for financing.
“They said they lacked confidence since the squad was too young and was led by a woman. We were only able to raise roughly RM18,000, despite the fact that we required four times that amount. The team has proven them wrong,” she told FMT.
She expressed gratitude to MIC for the RM10,000 donation as well as other contributors.
A Yasodharan, the team’s manager, lauded a local travel agency for paying for the airfare to France in advance, saying it signified they believed in the youngsters. He also said that the local airlines had refused them citing financial difficulties.
“We were discriminated against and humiliated on several occasions. We were also left with unkept promises and funds that were never delivered. To assure the team’s participation in France, we had to use personal finances and loans,” he remarked.
Here are the list of awards and recognitions shared by IOSSKAM which they bagged from the tournament;
1. Nivashini Sivaraman – Gold medal in Kata 15-17 Female Junior
2. Thavanishwary Muniandy – Silver in Kata 18-34 Female Junior, Bronze Kumite 18-34 Female Junior
3. Praveen Elancheran Dharmalingam – Silver in Kumite 15-17 Male 70kg and above
4. Sachiianantha Guberan Pathmanathan- Silver in Kata Male Open
Rotational Team Kumite Male Open – Bronze
1. Shachiidanantha Guberan Pathmanathan
2. Mugeshvaran V. Ganesh
3. Praveen Elancheran Dharmalingam
4. Prakash Muhammad Arjuna
Rotational Team Kumite Female Open – Silver
1. Paveedra Devi V Ganesh
2. Nivashini Sivaraman
3. Thavanishwary Muniandy
Kudos to the whole team and strive for the best in forthcoming endeavours!
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