GOMAGAN Sony Rajaa was the Kedah hero who did not have to fight in the final to take the men's kumite 65kg gold medal at the Dewan Besar Institute Kemahiran Belia Negara (IKBN) in Wakaf Tapai, Marang, yesterday.
It was first gold medal for Kedah after three days of karate competition. And the Kedah team hoisted Gomagan and paraded him in the arena after Sabah's Mohd Hussaimie Hussein conceded a walkover.
The 21-year-old Gomagan was the sole gold medal-winner for Kedah in karate when they hosted the Games in 2004 and the pressure was on him yesterday to retain the title .
And it wasn't easy for him to get past S. Sugandan of Johor in the quarter-final and Penang's Daniel Lim in the semi-finals.
“The bout against Daniel was like a final. I led but Daniel caught up and it was touch-and-go after that,” said the national back-up squad trainee.
Mohd Hussaimie was unable to fight in the final after he was stretchered out with a rib injury in the semi-final bout against S. Kannaan of Pahang.
Kedah coach P. Thiyakarajan said: “We knew the competition would be tough because of the ruling which allows national exponents and even Asian champions to take part.
“We have no national exponents in our ranks and we are happy to meet the one-gold target.”
Penang picked up their sixth gold medal through Chin Fang Yin in the women's kumite 60kg competition.
The national exponent defeated G. Nagashangkari of the Federal Territories in the final.
The other gold medallists of the day were R. Jayaraj of Malacca (men's kumite 70kg) and the Federal Territories' V. Jayaseelan (men's kumite 80kg).