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At least 4 golds
17th Southeast Asian Games
     


"We can achieve at least four golds."


-- Juwahir Sarip

At least four of Singapore's silat exponents are expected to strike gold in the finals of the Sea Games competition this morning. If they keep to their form, Badriah Hosni, Sheik Alauddin, Riduan Ahmad and Kadir Ibrahim, will mount the winner's rostrum at Yio Chu Kang Sports Hall. In addition the other three finalists - Hidayat Hosni, Azlan Hassan and Kartina Ahmad - may just spring a surprise or two though they start off as underdogs.

Team manager Juwahir Sarip, 46, said yesterday: "We can achieve at least four golds."

Current world champion Badriah was even more confident. "The best of us are in the finals. I feel all seven of us are capable of gold. We've improved a lot and have put up a good performance so far."

Badriah will meet Brunei's Umi Kalthum Abdul Karim in the 45-50 kg category in their third clash. The Singaporean lost to Umi in the Brunei Merdeka Games last October but beat her at the World Championships in Indonesia last year.

Said favourite Badriah: "I'm prepared to battle Umi but I'm a little nervous. Maybe, this is because I've lost to her before."

Sheik Alauddin, 26, the 1990 world champion in the 80-85 kg category, is not expecting a smooth ride for two reasons. For a start, he will be competing in his new 65kg and above category. Also, he faces a formidable opponent in Indonesia's world champion Wirnawan Wayan.

The third Singaporean vying for gold, Riduan, will challenge Indonesia's Slamet Latanggang while Kadir takes on Malaysia's Wan Adnan Isa. Kadir's golden prospect looks good as he had earlier knocked out major threats, Thailand's Saksan Tantiwut and Vietnam's Dang Van Chin.

Said Juwahir: "We are pleased to have seven finalists. In the past Games, we only managed to produce two to three each time. I've seen a big improvement in the present team's performance over the past six months. Credit should go to two veteran coaches, Hosni Ahmad and Haji Hussain."



"We are pleased to have seven finalists. In the past Games, we only managed to produce two to three each time. I've seen a big improvement in the present team's performance over the past six months."


In the other finals, Hidayat faces Thailand's Yapon Kamhangsong, Azlan meets Indonesia's Suratno and Kartina clashes with Indonesia's Istiar Fidia.
     

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