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Borneo, Bumiputera Community, Chinese Community, Sarawak, Sarawakian

Sarawak Wushu’s future star: Yong Arifah

NATIONAL Wushu Championship double gold medallist Yong Arifah Khairul Kok is a great example of what’s so great about Sarawak.

She won the gold medals for the Girls category D (7-12 yrs) Changquan in both the event and Non-Chinese categories.

The daughter of Kok Swee Yong @ Khairul Kok and Halipah Ali, Arifah is 12 and a pupil of SJK Chung Hua No. 4.

She was the sole non-Chinese member in the State contingent, which managed  five gold, seven silver and seven bronze.

In 2009, Arifah competed in the Sarawak Wushu Championship and won silver medals in the Changquan and Jianshu events. The following year, she struck gold in the Changquan and maintained her silver in the Jianshu.

Both her parents support her endeavours in the sport.

After a week of rather depressing news, reading about Arifah was a great way to begin my Saturday morning.

And I must say it is good to be a Sarawakian.

Arifah – wushu star in the making

By Ting Tieng Hee

KUCHING: Double gold medallist at last month’s National Junior Wushu Championship (KPM) Yong Arifah Khairul Kok has tremendous potential to go far in wushu.

The 12-year-old primary six student from SJK Chung Hua No. 4 can excel in the Chinese traditional martial art provided she continues to train and work hard, according to her coach Ling Ung Hee.

“She is very disciplined, hardworking, a fast learner and has a very good learning attitude. Arifah also follows instructions closely and always wants to improve herself,” Ling said when met at the training venue at Civic Centre Kuching on Thursday night.

Ling, who is Kuching Centre of Excellence for wushu coach, was training about 40 students from Kuching and preparing them for the Sarawak Wushu Championship from Dec 1-3.

The coach was also very pleased with Arifah’s performance in the Girls category D (7-12 yrs) Changquan where she swept both the event and Non-Chinese category golds.

Arifah, the 15th contestant out of 29 competitors, put up a sterling show to score 8.70 points.

The silver medallist was Ooi Bao Yi of Negeri Sembilan who scored 8.65 and the bronzes went to Wong She Hui of Pahang who had 8.63 points and Melaka’s Nor Eliya Kamarudzaman with 8.58 points.

“She displayed good form on competition day and that make her stand head and shoulders above the rest of the field,” said Ling, adding that it was also very important not to make errors when executing the Changquan routine.

Arifah’s parents Kok Swee Yong @ Khairul Kok and Halipah Ali are also very proud of their daughter’s excellent performance in her debut at the national junior championship.

“We were caught by surprise that she won both golds as we only expected her to win the gold in the Non-Chinese category,” said Kok, an executive of the Centre for Modern Management.

“We are very proud of her achievement and she has proven that Bumiputras can also excel in wushu,” chipped in her mother who is a civil servant.

Arifah started taking up wushu while she was in primary to fulfill her school’s requirement on co-curriculum activities, starting with an hour of wushu lesson on every Wednesday.

It was difficult at first as she complained of tiredness but Arifah gradually grew to like the sport.

Ling, who went to teach wushu in her school, noticed her potential and asked her to join the Saturday lesson at Civic Centre.

In 2009, Arifah competed in the Sarawak Wushu Championship and won silvers in the Changquan and Jianshu events. The following year, she struck gold in the Changquan and maintained her silver in the Jianshu.

“When Arifah won medals in the state championship, we motivated and encouraged her to go for higher level competitions and gave her all the support she needed,” said Halipah.

This included having to send her to attend wushu lessons at Civic Centre, the training centre at the then Wushu Association of Sarawak building in Tabuan Laru and the training centre at Koperasi Hijau at Stutong from their residence at Semerah Padi, Petra Jaya.

Kok and Halipah also accompanied Arifah to the national junior championship in Kuala Lumpur from Oct 28 to 31 to give her morale support.

“We would like to thank the coach for her able guidance and moulding our daughter into a champion. Arifah’s next target will be Sukma 2014 and 2016,” said Halipah, who also thanked the whole Sarawak contingent for giving their support to Arifah during the competition.

In the championship at the Cheras Badminton Stadium, Arifah, the only non-Chinese member of the team, contributed two golds to the state contingent’s medal haul of five golds, seven silvers and seven bronzes.

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