MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Thursday, May 19, 2022

Vincent Tan comes to rescue of Karate Kids


The nine members of the private karate team won a medal each at the French Karate International Open on May 8.

PETALING JAYA: Tycoon Vincent Tan has come to the aid of the cash-strapped karate team that has become known as Malaysia’s Karate Kids since its recent extraordinary success at an international competition.

The Berjaya Corporation Berhad founder has pledged RM20,000 to the privately funded team so it can settle its bills and outstanding debts.

The financial backing will come from Tan’s personal charity organisation, Better Malaysia Foundation.

“Their huge success must be acknowledged by all as it was no ordinary feat,” Tan told FMT. “The most important thing right now is to make sure their debts are settled as that will free them to plan for their next trip.”

At the French Karate International Open on May 8, the nine members of the team from the International Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Sei-bu-kan Karate Do Association of Malaysia brought home a medal each, including what is believed to be the country’s first gold in a global meet.

As the group is not affiliated with the Malaysian Karate Federation, which is the governing body of the sport in the country, raising funds has been difficult. Their trip to Paris was on credit extended by a local travel agency.

Tan said he hoped to see more efforts to help Malaysian athletes. No Malaysian bringing honour to the country should be ignored, he added.

Thivashini Krish Dhev Nair, a spokesman for the Karate Kids, thanked Tan for pledging to ease the team’s financial burdens.

She said the team’s debts would soon be settled and its focus would now be on training for tournaments in the US and Italy.

The team has also received RM27,000 from groups and individuals after FMT reported on its need to raise funds.

“We wish to thank Better Malaysia Foundation and other donors who have chipped in to help the team,” Nair said.

Tan previously provided US$52,000 in financial backing to US-based Malaysian athlete Shereen Vallabouy in her pursuit of academic and sporting excellence. - FMT

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