Saturday, November 8, 2014

From Taekwondo, Judo, Aikido to bodybuilding

To Vacqur, bodybuilding seems to be a really good ground for him.

The ex-junior judoka slugging it out during a state-level MMA preliminary round in Kuching.

FORMER Malaysia Games judoka Van Vacqur Cotter is now focusing on another arena far different from what he has been training in since he was 15.

So far, things have been turning out quite well for the 22-year-old.

“Many think it’s rather strange for me to get involved in bodybuilding, which seems to be a whole world apart from judo.

“At least if I joined karate or other forms of martial arts, there would have been some connection,” he told thesundaypost during a weightlifting session at MSNS Gym Kuching recently.

Still, his venture into bodybuilding has not been fruitless, finishing fourth at this year’s Mr Fitness Boulveard Kuching and being listed among the top 10 best fitness contestants at the recent Mr Iron Hardcore Sarawak Open.

Standing at 174cm, Vacqur’s lean muscular frame did suit his preference for the fitness category of bodybuilding – also known as aesthetics.

“As much as I’d like to enter bodybuilding competitions, I have trouble bulking up as I have super-fast metabolism. To many, this is a great problem to have, but not so for me,” he laughed.

On his move to a sport other than judo, Vacqur said bodybuilding was not the first.

“After I reached 21, I was automatically no longer eligible for Malaysia Games. That was when I embarked onto new sports. I entered mixed martial arts (MMA) during a state-level challenge earlier this year and got selected for the national try-outs which sadly, I had to forego due to work commitment.

“Still, bodybuilding seems to be a really good ground for me as just like judo, it requires discipline and hard work,” he said.

Vacqur says as much as he wants to enter bodybuilding competitions, he has trouble bulking up due to his super-fast metabolism.

The 22-year-old in action at the recent Mr Iron Hardcore Sarawak Open, where he finished among the best 10 in the Fitness category.

How it started

Ironically, it was judo that got him interested in bodybuilding in the first place.

“I watched this YouTube clip showing a judo master, Sensei Taihei Ori – who is in his 70s – performing 3,000 push-ups every day.

“I was immediately inspired. I told myself: ‘If he could do it, so could I’. So I followed that routine, but ended up managing only 800 reps (laughed).

“Still, I wasn’t discouraged.

“Now, I make it a point to do 300 push-ups every day to maintain my stamina. To me, Sensei Ori’s message on that video was not all about strength; rather he also wanted to stress on the importance of discipline, spirit of competitiveness and self-determination in achieving one’s target,” said Vacqur, who speaks fluent Mandarin.

Vacqur (second left) with his Malaysia Games team-mates after training in this file pic.

Self-defence streak

Apart from judo and bodybuilding, this Bidayuh lad from Kampung Sagah has begun to explore aikido.

“You can say that some of the influences come from watching Steven Seagal (Hollywood action movie icon) in the movies,” he quipped. “Truth is, I have a penchant for martial arts – I took up taekwondo when I was still in primary school.”

Currently, Vacqur follows his cousin, Sullivan Cotter, 41, who is a sensei at Aikishuren Dojo Kuching and his former teacher Andrese Ridu, who teaches in SMK Bau.

“Interestingly, judo and aikido are not much different from one another – both stress on discipline and hard work. Perhaps judo is slightly more competitive, while aikido focuses more on self-defence,” he said.

Nevertheless with all the different hats that he’s wearing, Vacqur said he would never, ever forget judo.

“Now that I have become a senior judoka, my all-time desire to enrol in the Kodokan Centre of Excellence is still burning.

“I want to learn more from the Japanese masters, like Sensei Kawamoto who coached Olympics judo players. I met him during a judo workshop at Chung Hua Middle School No 1 several years ago. That would be awesome.

“Nonetheless, to reach there, I know that I must work hard,” he added.

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Chee Wei bags gold for Malaysia in karate

INCHEON: Like a knight in shinning armour, Lim Chee Wei came to Malaysia’s rescue with a gold medal on the first day of the karate competition.

The 23-year-old Asiad debutant rose to the occasion to emerge victorious in the men’s individual kata event at the Gyeyang Gymnasium for Malaysia’s fourth gold in Incheon on Thursday.

He also kept the gold in Malaysia’s possession for the second straight Asiad as his coach and mentor Ku Jin Keat was the gold medallist in Guangzhou in 2010.

Chee Wei, who hails from Penang, dedicated the gold to his two coaches – Patrick Lim Chee Jin and Jin Keat.

“This is my first time at the Asiad and to start off with a gold is amazing. I did not expect it although I was confident of a medal.

“But I would not be able to achieve all these without the dedication and commitment of the two coaches who have sacrificed their time and money to groom me.

“This is a big win and I am now hoping to strike more glory for the country,’ said Chee Wei, a double gold medallist at the Myanmar SEA Games last year.

Chee Wei had a first-round bye and proceded straight to the quarter-finals.

He started off by demolishing Nepal’s Ram Bastolai Parshu 5-0. In the semi-finals, he was again in devastating form with a 4-1 win over Japan’s Issei Shimbaba.

There was no stopping Chee Wei although Indonesian Fidelys Lolobua provided him with a stiff fight. Chee Wei won 3-2 to nab the gold.

Jin Keat, who took over as the national kata team coach, was full of praise for his protege.

“We did target a medal from him. But to start off his debut in the Asian Games with a gold is good. I am sure he will improve along the way.

“He has been my student all the time and we all come from the same club. But more importantly, the win has given the whole team a boost and we have reached our target. But that does not mean we will stop here,” said Jin Keat.

There was, however, no joy for R. Sharmendran, the other Malaysian in action on Thursday.

Competing in the men’s kumite below 67kg category, Sharmendran started off promisingly with a 4-0 first-round win over Mukhammadzaid Iminov of Uzbekistan. But he was beaten 1-4 by Kuwait’s Abdulaziz Ali in the quarter-finals.

The karate team had arrived at the Games on Tuesday under pressure to deliver with Malaysia having only three golds to show and the gloom caused by first-day gold medallist Tai Cheau Xuen’s positive drugs test.

Now, hopes are up again and there is optimism that karate may well get a second gold in the kumite events. Four more Malaysians - S. Senthil, Syakila Saini, Nisha Alagasan and Shree Sharmini Segaran - will go into action on Friday.

The Star

Karate once again delivered when it mattered

INCHEON: Syakilla Salni Jefry Krisnan crowned her Asian Games debut with a gold medal after a dominating display in the women's kumite below-61kg final today.

The 22-year-old exponent from Klang stopped the clock with 30 seconds remaining after the mercy rule was enforced once Syakilla reached an eight-point lead against Barno Mirzaeva of Uzbekistan.

Syakilla's 10-2 win was the perfect way to mount the top step of the podium in what is the biggest win of her fledgling karate career.

"I am so happy, I can't tell you how happy I am," said Syakilla, who also won gold at the 2013 Sea Games, in between sobs at the Gyeyang Gymnasium in Incheon.

"This is the best result of my career. I want to thank my coach (Andris Vasiljev), the national karate association, National Sports Council, National Sports Institute, my family and friends for all the support they have given to me."

Syakilla became only the second Malaysian female karate exponent, after S. Premila in 2002, to win Asian Games gold.

Karate has now surpassed badminton and moved level with athletics in having contributed eight gold medals for Malaysia in Asian Games history.

Earlier, S. Senthil Kumaran won bronze in the men's kumite below-55kg category, the event in which R. Puvaneswaran won gold for a second time in 2010.

Senthil won a judges' decision after his bronze medal bout with Indonesia's Suryadi ended 4-4.

Later today, A. Nisha and S. Shree Sharmini take to the floor in the women's below-55kg and below-68kg respectively.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Karate centre selects athletes for Games

by Jenifer Laeng, Posted on July 28, 2013, Sunday

WE ARE READY: Athletes from Miri Karate Excellence Center picked for the upcoming Borneo Games in Labuan.

MIRI: Several athletes from Miri Karate Excellence Centre here have been selected to represent the state for the September Borneo Games to be held in Labuan.

Head coach, Al Harir Muhammad, disclosed that the athletes were chosen during a recent karate selection here.

They faced top picks from Sarawak Shitoryu Karate during the selection trial.

In the individual Kata event, Dayangku Nurdiyana won against Nadzirah Tuwah.

However, Nadzirah Tuwah’s win over a male competitor from Sarawak Shitoryu Karate impressed the panel judges and her coach.

“One of the panel selection judges, Shihan Edward, commented that it was the first time he saw a very impressive kata performance from a female athlete against a male athlete,” Al-Harir said.

Meanwhile, in the male under 75kg kumite, Mohd Ariffin won with a clear advantage over Danstance Tang from Sarawak Shitoryu Karate.

Al-Harir also said that training sessions have been reduced during the fasting month as most of the athletes are Muslims, but added that they will have intensive training soon after the fasting month is over.

“We need to stay focused and do all we can to prepare for the upcoming Borneo Games. We hope we will not only bring more medals back but we hope, through this games, our athletes will be able to learn new things and gain more experiences,” he added.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tough task awaits karate exponents in Myanmar SEA Games


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s karate squad suffered a double blow when R. Loganesha Rao and Kam Kah Sam quit the national team last month – just seven months before this year’s SEA Games in Myanmar.

Malaysia Karate Federation (MKF) secretary general Vincent Chen said that 2011 SEA Games men’s kumite below 55kg gold medallist Loganesha, who is still undergoing rehabilitation for an unspecified injury, has yet to hand in his resignation letter while 23-year-old kata exponent Kah Sam cited studies as his reason for quitting.

“It’s definitely disappointing. “The first time they came to see me, I managed to talk them out of quitting. But three months later, they came back feeling the same way,” said Vincent.

“It’s their choice. There’s nothing much I can do if their heart is not in it.

“It’s going to be difficult as we still have some fighters still undergoing rehabilitation, like G. Yamini (knee) and K. Teagarajan (unspecified injury).”

Vincent, however, is pleased that the elite and back-up squads’ exponents are progressing well.

At the recent South-East Asian Championships in Manila, Malaysia bagged 11 golds, eight silvers and seven bronzes. Eight of the 11 golds came from the elite exponents while the back-up squad delivered the other three.

Malaysia’s biggest rivals in the region, Indonesia, have also improved tremendously over the years. In Manila, they garnered nine golds, five silvers and 10 bronzes and could pose a real threat to our exponents come December.

“We have a great pool of talent in the back-up squad. They’re just not mature enough to make the transition into the elite squad yet,” said Vincent.

“Unlike us, Indonesia have at least four exponents for each category.

That offers them the flexibility of fielding their strongest line-up at every event.

“That’s why it’s crucial that the National Sports Council (NSC) support the back-up programme ... we have a credible crop of youngsters who are capable of making the grade to the elite squad.

“Ideally, we’d like to be in the same position (as the Indonesians) and rotate our fighters ... switch things up and keep our opponents guessing.”

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Karate academy exponents competing

MIRI: Nine young karate-kas aged seven to 11 years, from Kinnotaka Karate Academy (KKA) are participating in a two-day championship at Likas Sports Complex in Kota Kinabalu today.
They are Muhammad Zakaria Hulba, Max-Alexander Simon, Alfred Falco Fernando, Abdul Rahman Hulba, Chris Ling, Cassandra Sonia, Rueben Thiyaga Rajan, Ronaldo Thiyaga Rajan and Aric Chong.
The `14th Sabah State Primary School Karate Championship 2011’ is organised by Sabah Karate Association (SKA).

According to Edmond C. Fernando, KKA team coach, the championship was infact only for primary schools pupils in Sabah.
“We are invited as guest teams to the annual event.
“We appreciate the invitation very much because this allows us, especially our young exponents to get exposure and interact with others from other places,” he added.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Malaysian Karate Trio Strike Three Gold Medals

From Nursyabiha Sukri

VIENTIANE, Dec 14 (Bernama) -- Karate exponents added another three gold medals to the Malaysian contingent's Asean University Games medal tally at the Chao Anouvong Gymnasium in Vientiane Friday.

Mohd Hatta Mahamut, K. Teagarajan and M. Mathivani stamped their class in the men's kumite 84kg, men's kumite 75kg and women's kumite 61kg to win their respective events.

Experienced Mohd Hatta had no trouble disposing Trinh Vo Hao from Vietnam 5-2 in the kumite 84kg while Teguh Ganeswara Umar from Indonesia and Watchara Charoenpachok from Thailand were awarded bronze medals as losing semifinalists.

"I was cautious with my opponent during the bout since the Vietnam exponent was also experienced. Tomorrow I hope to maintain my performance in the men's kumite team event to win another gold," Mohd Hatta told reporters here.

The days second gold medal winner Teagarajan disposed Alin Sukma Pranata from Indonesia 5-2 while Songvut Muntaen from Thailand and Nguyen Van Su from Vietnam were awarded bronze medals.

Mathivani on the other hand was in supreme form as she whitewashed her opponent Arm Sukkiaw from Thailand 8-0 to claim the gold medal while Selitha Palalangan from Indonesia and Le Thi Thuy from Vietnam were bronze medal winners.

Apart from the trio, Uriel Yu En French contributed a silver medal in men's kumite 67kg category while V. Jayaseelan (men's kumite above 84kg) and M. Yokonanthini (women's kumite 55kg) added to the bronze medal tally.

Competitions in the AUG will continue Saturday.