Sensational Silat Aussie selections for top duo
MARTIAL ARTS: A chance opportunity with a friend 15 months ago, who introduced Viona Madea to Silat, is somewhat of a distant memory.
That's because 16-year-old Viona has excelled so much so, that she has been selected to represent Australia in the World Junior Silat Championships to be held in Songkhla, Thailand from April 23-29.
Her Gladstone Silat Langkah Baru club-mate Latu Biram-Mailangi has also been selected along with Gladstone's Geoff Atkinson as the Aussie assistant coach.
While the quietly-spoken Viona prefers to let her fighting do the talking, Latu also has no regrets.
"I started around two years ago when my neighbour told me about it," he said.
"I don't really enjoy sports, but what I like about Silat is the difference that this sport offers."
Latu, who will fight in the 70-75kg Class F category, said he will give it his best shot and Gladstone Silat Langkah Baru head coach Tony Arandale is bullish.
"These two are the first juniors to be selected ever for Australia and there are about 40 other countries in it," Arandale said of the upcoming championships.
"The way that they have been training, I rate Latu to be a medal chance and I expect Viona to go through the rounds."
The pair have met selection criteria in the regional, states and national events in their respective weight divisions.
Atkinson said the club can take a lot of pride in what it has produced and what it will continue to produce.
"Just to see the results out of all the hard effort that they have put in," he said.
Atkinson is usually the Queensland head coach and will make his debut as the Australian head coach.
The World Junior Silat Championship fights consists of three lots of two-minute rounds.
There will be preliminary, qualifying, quarter and semi-finals and the final in the championships.