SINGAPORE- The Singapore Taekwondo Federation (STF) is eyeing a bigger medal haul at the 2015 SEA Games on home ground.
And to do that, it intends to focus more on grooming poomsae (pattern) exponents than those in the kyorugi (sparring) discipline. Since poomsae was introduced to the Games programme in 2009, Singapore has sent 11 kyorugi exponents but only six in poomsae. That is set to change.
STF president Milan Kwee told The Straits Times yesterday: "We've been getting some talented poomsae exponents over the years, and our poomsae team have been delivering medals.
"It is an area we will focus on for 2015. There should be the same number of poomsae and kyorugi athletes at least." Singapore had no poomsae representatives at the 2009 Games in Laos but, two years later in Indonesia, clinched one silver and two bronzes compared to two kyorugi bronzes.
In Myanmar earlier this month, the nation's only taekwondo medal came from one of the two poomsae exponents - 17-year-old Chelsea Ann Sim's silver in the three-woman individual contest. In contrast, all five kyorugi representatives failed to make it past the first round.
Kwee said: "We were quite unfortunate with the draw in Myanmar. Two of our kyorugi players met the eventual winners in the first round.
"That said, physically it's getting harder to compete with the Thais, who train full time. Our fighters are usually shorter, which makes it easier for their opponents to score kicks to the head."
With the switch in emphasis, Kwee, who is also vice-president of the Asean Taekwondo Federation, is hopeful of improving the medal haul at home in 2015.