COMPETITION for places on the national team heading to the Laos Asean University Games (AUG) is expected to climax when the Deputy Prime Minister's International Pencak Silat Cup moves into the business end of the tournament starting today.
Malaysian AUG silat team manager Azli Puddin said 28 places on the team for Laos are up for grabs with the Pencak Silat Cup, to be held at the Square One Mall in Batu Pahat, being the final selection before the panel of national coaches finalises the squad.
The tournament, which has drawn over 600 entries from 11 countries and started with the preliminary rounds on Wednesday, moves into the knockout stages today. The competition ends tomorrow.
"We have done several rounds of selection including at the Malaysia Games, National Championships and also the Malaysian Universities Sports Council (Masum) Championships," said Azli, who is also the Pencak Silat Cup tournament director.
"We have a rough idea which exponents we will bring to the AUG. However, we are using this tournament to give those hoping to represent Malaysia in Laos a last chance to impress. This tournament provides students from every institution of higher learning the opportunity to show off their skills whether they are from public, private universities or polytechnics.
"We will convene for a selection panel meeting to discuss our choices when the tournament ends and announce the final 28-man squad within a week."
Azli added that the Pencak Silat Cup, organised by Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) and the Higher Education Ministry with support from the Malaysian National Silat Federation (PESAKA), also provides the opportunity for Malaysian exponents to gauge their level of preparation before the AUG on Dec 12-22.
As one of the eight major university championships organised by the Higher Education Ministry annually, winners at the Pencak Silat Cup will also be contributing to their universities medal tallies at the Malaysian Institutions of Higher Learning Games (SUKIPT) which will held next month. By Fadhli Ishak