Muhammad Arif Afifuddin Ab Malik has joined an elite group of karatekas who climbed the top of the podium in the Asian Games following his gold medal exploits on 7th October 2023.
His victory in the Martial Arts Men’s Kumite -84kg at the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022, ensured the Malaysian Contingent its 6th gold medal and the 32nd overall, surpassing the medal target by 5 medals, a day before the Games comes to a conclusion.
Only three Malaysian male karatekas, C Muralitharan in Bangkok 1998 (below 55kg) R Muniandy also in Bangkok 1998 (below 70kg) and R Puvaneswaran (below 55kg in Busan 2002 and Guangzhou 2010) – had etched their name on the record books as the Asian Games gold medalists in their respective kumite events.
Arif, 23, beat Daniyar Yuldashev of Kazakhstan 10-4 in the final. It ended Malaysia’s nine-year karate gold drought at the Asiad as Arif was the first Malaysian to reach a kumite final at the Asian Games since Syakilla Salni Jefry Krisnan won the Women’s Kumite 61kg in Incheon 2014.
The Malaysian Contingent, however, remains 14th overall in the medal standings with 6 golds, 8 silvers and 18 bronzes to show, for a total of 32 medals. In terms of medals won, Malaysia is ranked 13th.
Following is the recap of the day:
𝗠𝗔𝗥𝗧𝗜𝗔𝗟 𝗔𝗥𝗧𝗦 𝗞𝗔𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗘
Karate rarely disappoints in Multi-Sports Games, either at the SEA Games or the Asian Games.
Thanks to Muhammad Arif Afifuddin Ab Malik who defeated Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Yuldashev 10-4 for the gold, the karate camp has won one gold and two silver a day before the Games comes to an end.
The squad has bettered the previous achievement of one bronze medal, achieved at the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Games through S. Prem Kumar.
In the earlier rounds, Arif defeated Vietnam’s Do Thanh Nhan (2-0), Indonesia’s Sandi Firmansah (4-3), and South Korea’s Baek Jun Hyeok (5-2).
Prem Kumar, meanwhile, lost his bout in the quarterfinal.
Malaysia’s Ng Joe Ee finished 11th in the all-around final with a total score of 116.250 points in an event won by Uzbekistan’s Takhmina Ikromova with 131.300 points. Silver went to Kazakhstan’s Elzhana Taniyeva (130.700) and her compatriot Milana Parfilova was third (130.050).
The Women’s Team met their target at the Asian Games, securing a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Thailand in the fifth-sixth classification match.
As one of the top 5 teams in the Asian Games, Malaysia has qualified for the Olympic qualifier next year.
The Malaysian Regu team had to contend with the silver after the defeat to favourites Thailand following a 60-minute battle.
Malaysia – who were the defending champions, succumbed 21-15, 21-19 at the Jinhua Sports Centre Gymnasium.
The OCM extends its heartiest congratulations to all the athletes who have made it possible for the Contingent to meet and surpass the medal target.