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Malaysia’s karate athletes eyeing Olympics 2020

Malaysian athletes Syakilla Salni Jefry Krishnan and Sharmendran Ragunathan are certainly no strangers in the karate world as they have been actively involved in karate since young.

Sharmendran is the team captain for Malaysia and he just recently won a gold medal at the fifth South East Asia Championship 2016.

Meanwhile, 25-year-old Syakilla is ranked number 2 on the World Karate Federation (WKF) ranking in Karate 1 for female kumite 55kg and champion for Asian Games 2014.

The two good friends have been winning a number of national and regional tournaments, and are currently punching and kicking their ways to Olympics 2020.

The Malaysia karate team!
(Photo source: Sharmen's Facebook)

Not too long ago, TheHive.Asia had a quick talk with the two martial artists during the premiere of “Independence Day: Resurgence” where the two shared about their backgrounds, personal lives and upcoming plans.

When did you first start karate?
Sharmendran: It started as a hobby at first. When I was a kid, around 10 years old, there was an open space near my house, and my dad was like, “Hey, let’s play some karate!” So it all started just for fun!

Syakilla: I started at the age of 4, and it was because of my grandfather. He was the one who took me to the karate classes. At first, I wasn’t so interested, but then I got my first medal at the age of 7, and after that I started to like it more and I got involved in karate a lot since then.

Syakilla and Sharmendran are close friends.
(Photo source: Syakilla's Facebook)

Do you have any hobby other than karate?
Sharmendran: Of course, we sometime spend our free time with our friends like playing futsal or just having a small get together, but it’s very rare because we’re very committed to our training. We trains from Monday to Saturday, so we have like only one day to rest, and we use that time to spend with our family and friends.

What about you, Syakilla?
Syakilla: Like what he said, but I also love to read novels during my free time.

What is the last novel you read?
Syakilla: It’s a Malay romance novel titled “Adam & Hawa”.

Syakilla won the 2014 Asian Games!
(Photo source: Syakilla's Facebook)

So how is your daily training programme looks like?
Sharmendran: Well, we train six days in a week, two sessions – three hours in the morning and two and a half hours in the evening. We have a short rest in between, that’s when we sleep, do physiotherapy, massage and everything to regain our strength for the next session. But on Wednesday and Saturday, we will have only one session, so all together we have ten sessions per week.

What do you both have next, any new competitions?
Syakilla: This year, the major competition is Karate World Championships in Austria, but before that we will have Karate 1 Premier League in Germany and also Istanbul, Turkey. Those are the main three competitions for this year.

Sharmendran: We are also looking forward to Olympic 2020 in Tokyo, hopefully we will be qualified for that. The final announcement will be in next month where 90 contestants will be picked. So, hopefully we will be chosen too!

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