ACL injury puts karateka Sharmendran at career crossroads

KUALA LUMPUR: Four-time Sea Games champion R. Sharmendran is contemplating his future in karate as he recovers from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

The 31-year-old said he had no regrets competing with a torn ACL in his left knee during the Hangzhou Asian Games in September.

Sharmendran picked up the injury during a training camp in Egypt in June, forcing him to skip the Asian Championships in Melaka a month later.

Despite the setback, he pushed through the pain to participate in the Hangzhou Asian Games, falling short of a medal after losing to Kyrgyzstan's Nazim Nurlanov in the men's Kumite below-75kg repechage round.

"It was a blow to pick up an ACL injury just before the Asian Games, but I soldiered on and competed in Hangzhou," said Sharmendran, who has now undergone six knee surgeries in the last nine years.

"I made adjustments to my training because of the injury. It was not easy, but I gave my best at the Asian Games.

"I lost a bit of pace because of the injury, but I have no regrets because I did my best."

Despite the disappointment in Hangzhou, he believes he had a commendable year overall.

Currently focused on his recovery, Sharmendran will make a decision regarding his future soon.

"I am focusing on my recovery and will decide whether to continue competing or think of another career option soon."

Sharmendran etched his name in Malaysia's sporting history as the most successful karateka at the Sea Games, having clinched the Kumite below-75kg title in Phnom Penh in May.

His achievements also include victories in the 2022 (Hanoi), 2019 (Manila), and 2017 (KL) editions.

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