KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - The Olympic Council of Malaysia have continued to slash their Asian Games squad with their traditional strong suit of karate following gymnastics and shooting in having their numbers reduced.
The Malaysian’s tally of two golds, two silvers and a bronze in karate at the last Asian Games was bettered only by Japan but despite that success the Southeast Asians will not be taking up their full quota of places.
Each country is allowed to send eight players to take part in the Sept. 19-Oct. 4 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, but the Malaysians will only send six.
The Malaysian Karate Federation (Makaf) said they had registered eight karateka and will send them all to the World Cup meeting in Okinawa, Japan, on Aug 30-31 before deciding which two players will be dropped.
“All those we have registered for the Asian Games will go to Okinawa and there, we will get an indication of how we will fare in Incheon,” Makaf secretary-general Vincent Chen was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times on Monday.
“This is because we expect all the countries who will be competing in the Asian Games to send their best exponents to Okinawa.
“So from the eight, we will drop two athletes and the rest will go on to Turkey and Egypt for more tournaments in the final phase of preparation for the Asian Games.”
The cuts to the team follow the Malaysian gymnastics federation opting against sending any male athletes to Incheon after a poor showing at the recent Commonwealth Games in Scotland.
The Malaysian shooting squad was also slimmed down to eight after picking up only one medal in Glasgow, a bronze in the women’s 10 metres air rifle.
In contrast, the men’s rugby sevens squad will take part in South Korea next month despite the team losing all five of their matches at the Commonwealths and shipping an eye catching 192 points.
Writing by Patrick Johnston; Editing by John O'Brien