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2nd UTAR Wushu Championship makes a grand comeback

The participants commemorating their participation and triumph with gleeful smiles.

The arrival of 25 March 2023 marked a significant milestone for Chinese martial arts, Wushu, in Malaysia. The 2nd UTAR Wushu Championship 2023 made a comeback with its thrilling Sanda competition at Dewan Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, UTAR Kampar Campus from 25 to 26 March 2023. The championship successfully attracted the participation of over 90 athletes from Penang, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Kedah, and Sabah.

Chin expressing his gratitude to UTAR Kampar Campus Wushu Club for promoting Wushu.

With its focus on reinvigorating Sanda’s popularity, the 2nd UTAR Wushu Championship aimed to promote Wushu to the students as well as to the public as a form of martial arts. At the same time, it also sought to raise the standard of Wushu among Wushu enthusiasts from different universities and associations. The national-level Sanda competition was open to both males and females with different weight categories. The championship included a total of four sessions of Sanda.

The UTAR Wushu Championship series saw a long hiatus as the first UTAR Wushu Championship was held back in 2017. The two-day championship of 2023 was organised by the Wushu Club of UTAR Kampar Campus with technical support from the Wushu Federation of Malaysia and the Wushu, Dragon, and Lion Dance Federation of Perak.

Prof Choong emphasising the significance of Wushu in the modern era.

Gracing the championship were Chairman of Wushu Federation of Malaysia Chin Kin Thong, UTAR Vice President for Student Development and Alumni Relations Prof Dr Choong Chee Keong, Vice President of Wushu, Dragon, and Lion Dance Federation of Perak Wong Wai Leng, Executive Member of Wushu, Dragon, and Lion Dance Federation of Perak Mak Tuck King, UTAR Dean of Faculty of Science Assoc Prof Dr Lim Tuck Meng, Advisor of UTAR Kampar Campus Wushu Club Dr Lee Yu Jen and Organising Chairperson of 2nd UTAR Wushu Championship 2023 Liew Voon Choon.

In his remarks, Chin said, “The popularity of Wushu has declined during the pandemic in the past two years. Some of the competitions and events were forced to suspend due to the pandemic. I am glad to see how active the Wushu Club of UTAR Kampar Campus is in trying to promote Wushu to the public at this moment while the epidemic is gradually improving. On behalf of the Wushu Federation of Malaysia, we fully support this “2nd UTAR Wushu Championship 2023” as an encouragement in promoting Sanda, one of the Wushu sports to the public.”

Liew conveying the organising committee’s resolve to promote Wushu.

Emphasising the benefits of embracing Wushu, Prof Choong said, “On a mission for excellence in the advancement and dissemination of knowledge and expertise, UTAR always emphasises on nurturing the holistic development of the individual. Today’s Wushu Championship provides participants with a platform to showcase not only their talents in martial arts, but also enhance their appreciation for Chinese culture, develop their soft skills, especially in building confidence and discipline, boost interpersonal skills, and encourage the habit of lifelong learning. These are valuable learning opportunities outside the classroom, which students and participants should acquire as part of their education in the university and their life. I hope the experience will encourage all participants to be better achievers and contributors to society.”

Bracing through the storms of hardship in preparation for the championship, 2nd UTAR Wushu Championship 2023 Organising Chairperson Liew enthused, “On behalf of the organising committee, we would like to thank all the parties who have supported and sponsored this meaningful event. Through this event, we truly hope that we will be able to promote Wushu to the public. We believe that the sportsmanship and spirit of Wushu culture will convince you to practice them in your daily life for better health.”

Representing the guest of honour, President of Wushu Federation of Malaysia Dato’ Chong Kim Fatt, Chin officiated the opening ceremony of the 2nd UTAR Wushu Championship with Prof Choong, Wong, Mak, Dr Lim, Dr Lee and Liew.

Front row, from left: Dr Lim, Prof Choong, Chin and Wong cutting the ribbon at the opening ceremony.

Front row: Dr Lee (second from left), Dr Lim, Prof Choong, Chin, Wong, Mak and Liew smile for a group photograph in the company of the members of organising committee, guests and UTAR staff.

In preparation for the Sanda competition, the participants and audience were greeted with a lion dance performance. The performance was complemented with the familiar and thunderous beats of the Chinese drum. Although somewhat comical, it flawlessly captured the gallant-yet-playful nature of a lion, the very creature lion dancers wish to mimic.

The lion dancers performing energetically to the booming drumbeats.

The air of vivacity pervaded the hall. Yet, the intensity and pressure of the imminent competition roamed alongside it throughout the hall. The participants donned their “war faces” as their matches drew near. They wasted no time and went straight to warming up their bodies with assistance from their coaches and peers. Some sharpened their moves with consistent warm-ups, some jogged around the borders of the hall, some offered helping hands to other participants in warming up, some were given pep talks, and some were even having casual conversations with their peers before the competition. All in all, every participant incorporated their own ways to cope with the overwhelming tension.

Participants gearing up for the upcoming matches with serious faces.

The highlighted moment arrived when the names of the first two participants of session 1 were called into the matted square area. Equipped with protective gear, the participants of each side (red and blue) greeted one another with the traditional Wushu salute. When the referee signalled the beginning of the match, the participants immediately transitioned into their fighting stances. As they observed their opponents, their whole bodies moved restlessly yet subtly in their own rhythms to allow immediate defence from impending strikes. Whenever a side made the first move, the match would transition into a fast-paced fight involving a variety of moves such as punches, kicks, and even grapples.

(Photo credit to 毅勝坊 YSF Marketing)
Some of the highlights from the Sanda Competition.

In the midst of the matches, voices from the audience rooting for their favourite participants as well as the coaches from each side offering advice to their respective fighters reverberated around the hall. The participants demonstrated great tenacity even under pressure from their opponents. Every manoeuvre exhibited by the participants evidently showed their blood, sweat, and tears in achieving them. The booming voices of excitement would always ring throughout the hall whenever a participant was down. Perhaps it was grit to obtain victory on behalf of their teams or the accumulated training that repeatedly brought them back on their feet. Nonetheless, only one participant with better-tempered skills shall prevail. Even if a match was decided, the participants displayed great sportsmanship and respect for one another. Most participants who lost accepted their defeats with grace. On the other hand, the ones who emerged victorious carried on the momentum as well as newfound hopes entrusted by the participants they defeated into the incoming matches. Altogether, the essence of martial arts ethics was clearly exhibited in the participants’ actions.

With the passing of the thrills and excitement, came the moments of triumph. Among the 10 sessions (Senior Category), the UTAR students of Kampar Wushu Club and Sungai Long Wushu Club won a total of three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals.

The list of winners is as follows:

UTAR Wushu Club’s participants displaying their joyous spirit of victory in the company of Mak (centre, right).

As the two-day championship reached its conclusion, short videos displaying the hardship of individuals, including guests from the Wushu Federation of Malaysia and the Wushu, Dragon, and Lion Dance Federation of Perak; organising committee; referees; judges, coaches and emcees, were played. Without their effort, the 2nd UTAR Wushu Championship would not be filled with excitements and euphoria.

The two-day championship ended with a group photography session.

With the grand revival of the UTAR Wushu Championship, one could likely expect similar Wushu events organised by UTAR in the future.

The members of organising committee assemble for a group photograph to commemorate the championship’s success.

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