A FEW months ago, Mirage Khan was excited and eager to represent the country in sambo at the Philippines Sea Games on Nov 30-Dec 11.
However, his dreams have been dashed following the Olympic Council of Malaysia’s (OCM) decision to reject Malaysia Sambo Association’s (Sambo Malaysia) request to send five exponents, including Mirage, for the biennial Games.
What is baffling is that Sambo Malaysia are willing to send their athletes under Category B2 (self-funded and not allowed to claim even if medals are won), but OCM have so far stood firm with their decision.
While the exponents have not received a go-ahead, the Sambo Union of Southeast Asia have listed two Malaysian officials (a referee and a technical official) for the Games.
In a last-ditch effort to get the squad included in the Games before the closing date later this month, Mirage is pleading for OCM to reconsider their decision.
“I am an athlete and all I want to do is fight for my country and make Malaysia proud.
“All we ask for is a chance to compete in the Games, nothing else,” the mixed martial arts (MMA) specialist told Timesports yesterday.
The 29-year-old, popularly known as Miracle Mirage Khan, is hoping for a special intervention.
“I’m really hoping for a miracle because I’ve trained so hard for this.
“I’m confident I will do well if given the chance.”
Mirage, who is of Pakistani-Malaysian parentage, has also represented the country in sanshou boxing, MMA and amateur boxing.
In sanshou, Mirage, who was born and raised in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, won a silver each at the 2012 Asian Wushu Championships and the Sanda World Cup.
Apart from wushu, he is also a two-time Malaysian Invasion Mixed Martial Arts (MIMMA) winner, bagging the title in season three and four.
It is learnt that only six countries (including Malaysia) will compete in sambo at the Sea Games which offers seven gold medals (two for sports, four for combat and one for team).
Securing medals is not an impossible task for Malaysia as proven by the squad’s brilliant performance at the Southeast Asia Sambo Championships in Bandung, Indonesia, in June.
Considered a test event ahead of the Sea Games, Malaysia bagged two gold, two silver and two bronze.
Another factor to consider is that sambo could be contested as a demonstration sport at the 2024 Paris Olympics, so it is only right to have them gauge their standard at the Southeast Asian level, when the sport makes it debut later this year.
“My dream is to compete in the Olympics, but I’m afraid I will not have that opportunity if I do not compete in the Sea Games.
“I just hope OCM will reconsider our appeal and allow us athletes to represent Malaysia,” said Mirage.