SEA Game: Sparring partners ensure there's no sibling rivalry

SEA Game: Sparring partners ensure there's no sibling rivalry
Taekwondo exponents Raja Arshad (left) and his brother Raja Zulfadli have made their four-room HDB flat's dining area their training mat since they picked up the martial art eight years ago.

COMING home to the sight of their two sons furiously kicking at each other would alarm most parents, but not Raja Mahmod Raja Yusof and his wife Misnah Ahmad.

It is a sight they have grown accustomed to, ever since Zulfadli Mahmod and Arshad Mahmod first picked up taekwondo in 2005.

Now that the brothers are set to make their debuts at the upcoming SEA Games, their sparring sessions at home have only become more frequent.

Said Zulfadli, 20, who is in the lightweight (67-72kg) category: "We live in a four-room HDB flat, so we don't have much space. Whenever we spar, we have to move the dining table aside.

"It's not a big space, about four metres by six metres, but it's enough. We'll just stop when we go near the wall."

Arshad, 18 and a bantamweight (58-62kg) fighter, added: "With the SEA Games coming up, we spar at home whenever we're free. We really want to do well for the country."

National coach Wong Liang Ming had nothing but praise for the diligent duo.

Wong, 50, a four-time SEA Games gold medallist, said: "They are both very hard-working. When Zul first joined the national team in 2009, he was quite stiff, but now he can do a full split. This tells you a lot about his desire and commitment."

Zulfadli and Arshad are part of a seven-member team, the largest taekwondo contingent for the SEA Games since Wong took over the reins in 2003.

Added to the fact that the squad - featuring five SEA Games debutants - have an average age of 19, it is clear that the 2015 SEA Games is on the radar of the national team selectors.

Said Wong: "Some of them haven't trained as much because of examinations, but these youngsters have a lot of potential, and we want to groom them for 2015."

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