The Arafura Games was a success for the Malaysian Muaythai Team. We tasted victory through Ali and Faizal, even Amin's loss in the finals wasn't all that bad as he put up a good fight against Thailand's Panupan Tanjad, the 3 time IFMA World Champion, Ejo who was supposed to compete in the 45kg or even the 48kg category had to jump up to the 54kg category as there weren't enough competitors in the ligter weights. Mail fought an Iranian fighter inches taller and Azwan being in the 91+ category had his first lesson on why he should cut down on the carbs.
Ejo, Mohd Sukri Hasan, had to face Iranian Mohamad, in the 54kg category, pictured above.We decided let let Ejo have a go and jump 2 classes up so he would get experience in the games. The height difference was obvious but nevetheless Ejo put up a good fight. This guy is amazing. I am sure his Iranian opponent was shocked Ejo put up such a tough fight but alas the height and weight difference was just too much to overcome.
Some of Mohd Ali Yaakub's, 57kg and below, more notable rounds was against Japan's Iisaka Kazuki in the semi finals, Ali managed to control the match and knocked out Iisaka in the 3rd round. In the finals Ali came up against New Zealand's Geoff Ahipene, who put up a tougher fight than I personally expected but Ali controlled the match and in the end appeared triumphant procuring the gold medal for Malaysia.
Our Mohd Faizal Ramli, the golden elbow, was amazing. In the semi finals Faizal came up against Kota Tsujimoto in the 71kg and below category. Who would have expected that with all that padding Faizal would still managed to yet again down his opponent with a deadly elbow strike to forehead! Faizal TKOed Kota Tsujimoto of Japan in the second round. In the finals, Faizal came up against Australia's team captain Clayton Collyer,student to the famous John Wayne Parr. Here too Faizal controlled the match and won the gold for Team Malaysia.
Mohd Noramin Ibrahim,63.5kg and below, came up against Australia's Mark Crawley in the semi finals, even though Amin is new to the Malaysian Tigers Team, he really fought well and won his semi final fight against Australia's Mark Crawley. But what impressed us most was his fight against the 3 times IFMA World Champion Thailand's Panupan Tanjad, Amin held his own against Panupan and didn't appear intimidated at all and believe me, Panupan is a very intimidating fighter full of skill and confidence. Amin never gave in he kept up a good fight and we were all really proud of his performance. Even though Amin will have a long way to go to beat Panupan,I'm sure he will get there with a lot of training and dedication.
All in all, Team Muaythai Malaysia did really well, contributing 2 Gold, 1 Silver and 3 bronze medals to Malaysia's medal tally. That's 6 medals for 6 athletes participating! Tahniah!!!