KUALA LUMPUR – The national karate exponents aspiring to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in July are set to undergo a one-month training camp in Kazakhstan in order to be prepared for the final qualifiers in Paris.
One of them, R. Sharmendran (picture), said during the camp, they will get to spar against some of the local athletes in the central Asian country to get the feeling of being in the competition after a one-and-a-half year hiatus due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
The 28-year-old kumite athlete believes the Kazakhstan stint will help the national exponents regain their best form ahead of the Tokyo Qualification Tournament in the France capital scheduled for June 11-13.
“After the long break, we have to get back and the training will be very effective for us because there are very good fighters, that is the reason we are going to Kazakh. Physically, we are in very good condition, but mentally we have to be prepared.
“To get back the feeling of being in a competition, the environment and the pressure, are the things we have to adapt again. Obviously, we going to give our best shot in Paris because Tokyo will most probably be the first and last Olympics to feature karate,” he told reporters here.
The 2014 Karate1 World Cup champion said for now three karatekas, namely the 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist S. Prem Kumar, P. Madhuri and himself, have been confirmed for the camp, followed by competitions in Europe before heading to Paris.
The exponents are set to depart once they completed their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on May 4.
All of them received their first jab yesterday.
“Because of the pandemic, it is very difficult for us to travel, even our family members are worried. Now I hope the vaccine will protect us and help to get back to normal,” added Sharmendran.