MALAYSIA’s flagbearer Syakilla Salni Jefry Krishnan is back in shape and ready to strike down her opponents.
The karate exponent has managed to reduce her weight to compete in kumite (below 55kg) after being disqualified from the Asian Championship last month for being overweight.
“It was a tough time. I was physically and mentally down,” said the 26-year-old after receiving the Jalur Gemilang from Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday.
“But now, with the help of National Sports Institute, National Sports Council, my teammates, Malaysian Karate Federation (Makaf) and coaches, I’m back on track.
“They are the ones who pushed me and were my backbone during the preparations.”
Syakilla bagged the kumite (below 61kg) gold at Incheon 2014 before Makaf asked her to fight in the below 55kg category.
She became the first Malaysian exponent to be ranked world No 1 in October 2016.
Asked about her double pressure after given the responsibility as flagbearer as well as the expectation to deliver gold, Syakilla said it was an honour to contribute to the nation.
“I’m honoured to lead the contingent,” she said.
“As for the gold medal, I’m not under pressure because I’m mentally and physically prepared.
“But I’m expecting tough challenge from all opponents.
“I’ll go all out and the results will come.”
Syakilla will lead the contingent at the opening ceremony on Aug 18 at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.
She will then return home as Makaf have scheduled sparring sessions with exponents from Ukraine, Estonia and Latvia.
After the final phase of training, she and her teammates will leave to Jakarta for the karate events scheduled from Aug 25-27 at Jakarta Convention Centre.