Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Malaysia snatches gold from RI hands

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post | Tue, 11/16/2010 9:56 AM

World champion Llindswell Wijayaka failed to deliver Indonesia gold at the 16th Asian Games after finishing sixth at the women’s Taijiquan and Taijijian all-round at Nansha Gymnasium, about 71 kilometers south of Guangzhou, on Monday.

“I realize I was too intense. When I landed I was trembling,” Llindswell said after the contest. “Moreover, compared to the others, I choose maneuvers with the greatest [degree of] difficulty,” she added.

Llindswell performed beautifully at the Taijijian morning session and stood at the top of the group with 9.67 points, on par with Ai Miyaoka of Japan and Fong Ying Chai of Malaysia. The result inspired the athlete’s hopes for Indonesia’s first gold, similarly encouraging a stable of journalists and Indonesian officials who had flocked to the venue from downtown.

However, during the Taijiquan evening session Llindswell almost fell during her performance, which earned her only 19.10 total points, leaving her in sixth position.

“She expected to win the gold. First, because she is the 2010 world champion, and secondly because she was champion again in the category during a recent international event in Beijing. Lastly, because there were no host competitors in the category,” Indonesian Wushu Association (PBWI) chairman Supandi Kusuma told reporters after the contest.

“If she did not make a fatal mistake, she would have won the first gold for Indonesia,” Supandi added.

The gold was grabbed by Fong Ying Chai of Malaysia with a total score of 19.36, while the silver medal went to Ai Miyaoka of Japan with a total score of 19.34. Ching Ni Wen of Chinese Taipei took the bronze with a total score of 19.33.

“I’m proud to win my country its first gold medal,” Fong Ying Chai said during a conference after the contest. “It’s true that I have most of the same people standing by me on the podium, which reminds me how time flies and we’re all getting old.”

Malaysia has targeted nine gold medals at Guangzhou. It has won one silver in billiards, and bronzes in equestrian, shooting and the nanquan/nandao all-round event in wushu.

The three Taijiquan and Taijijian medalists have all trained for several months at Fozhou, the capital of southeast China’s Fujian province.

“We are really familiar with each other and we are good friends,” said Ai Miyaoka. “I hope we can move forward together in the future.”

Indonesia still has several chances to bring home other gold medals, National Sports Council (KONI) chairperson Rita Subowo said.

“It is quite hard for us [in all disciplines] because we are competing with host country world class athletes,” she said.

“We were really expecting gold from Llindswell because there were no Chinese athletes in the category. But, unfortunately the expectation was not realized as it seemed that Llindswell was under pressure,” she added.

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