‘Illegal’ blow floors Shakir’s chances to win elusive gold

 ‘Illegal’ blow floors Shakir’s chances to win elusive gold
Shakir Juanda (right) fought on after fending off giddiness and nausea from an illegal punch thrown by opponent Le Si Kien. But he could not catch up.

NAYPYITAW - A controversial punch to the face ended Singapore's reigning silat world champion Shakir Juanda's challenge at the SEA Games yesterday.

He was already trailing in his semi-final battle against arch-rival Le Si Kien when the Vietnamese threw what the Singapore camp deemed an illegal blow.

Shakir dropped to the mat, his face twisted in pain.

However, the subsequent no-call by the referee consigned Shakir to a fourth straight SEA Games without the elusive gold medal.

The 25-year-old lost 0-5 in the Match Class H semi-finals at the Zayyathiri Indoor Stadium to Kien, whom he had edged out 3-2 in the world championships final in Chiang Rai in Thailand last year.

The result means Shakir had to settle for a bronze - the same result as two years ago in Palembang in Indonesia.

He won a silver in the 2009 edition after coming up empty-handed in 2007.

"Definitely, I'm disappointed," he said. "These things happen and I have to learn to take it in stride."

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