KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 (Bernama) -- Thirty taekwondo exponents were identified to undergo training in pursuit of places for the Laos SEA Games after hopes of the sports inclusion was revived by the Malaysian Taekwondo Association (MTA) Ad-Hoc committee.
Former MTA vice president Nur Ekmal Buhary said the Ad-Hoc committee had conducted a selection trial yesterday and short listed 30 exponents for training, after the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) had given an ultimatum to select a team quickly if taekwondo was to be included in the Games.
"The trail received tremendous response with more than 200 exponents from MTA, Malaysian Taekwondo Federation (MTF), Malaysian Taekwondo Clubs Association (MTCA) and other affiliated bodies attending and the Ad-Hoc committee had agreed to send a team to Laos.
"It was the biggest trail session held and coordinated by representatives of the Ad-Hoc committee while the selection was done by national coach R. Dhanaraj. The 30 exponents will attend centralised training together with 7 elite exponents, at the National Sports Council," he told Bernama on Tuesday.
The latest development was in response to an earlier decision by the OCM to omit taekwondo from the list of participating sports in the Laos SEA Games due to the uncertainty of the MTA which was deregistered on July 5, 2007 by the Sports Commissioner's office.
Nur Ekmal said, with the commitment from the Ad-Hoc committee, he was optimistic that OCM would include taekwondo, in the list of sports for the Laos SEA Games, especially after having won two gold medals at the Korat SEA Games in Thailand, two years ago.
"We will only be able to send 10 exponents for both the men's and women's categories as the host country have introduced a very strange guideline. Though they will be hosting 8 events each in the men's and women's categories, they have asked participating countries to send only 5 men and 5 women exponents.
"The final squad will be decided by Dhanaraj and the 30 newcomers must prove their mettle to be selected," he said.
He added that those who are not selected to Laos would still be retained and undergo training as preparations for the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
Laos would host the SEA Games in Vientiane from Dec 9-18 and feature 25 sports.