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KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 -- National karate exponents S. Prem Kumar and P. Madhuri failed to book their places in the Tokyo Olympics next month after going down fighting at the Karate Olympic Qualification Tournament in Paris, today.
Prem Kumar, the 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist, missed the chance after losing 2-4 to Edari Oussama of Morocco in the repechage of the men's Under-67kg category.
The 27-year-old SEA Games champion started well, eliminating Casper Lidegaard of Denmark 3-2 in the opening round and 1-0 to Portuguese Diogo Ribeiro in the second round.
However, the two-time Asian Championship bronze medallist missed the cut for the quarter-finals when he lost 0-5 to finalist and European champion Eray Samdan of Turkey, forcing him to take the harder route in the repechage.
In the women’s Under-55kg category, Madhuri, 21, was eliminated in the third round after losing 0-1 to Burkitt Carla of Germany.
Earlier, the Asian Junior Championship silver medallist created an upset by eliminating 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist Cok Istri Agung Sanistyarani of Indonesia 5-4 and kicking out Valentina Toro of Chile 2-1.
“Both athletes (Prem Kumar and Madhuri) performed very well. After more than 16 months of no competitions, they put up a good show. Prem lost through a referee’s decision, who ruled it as 0-5 instead of 0-0, to the finalist (Samdan), who is also the world number seven.
“It was a good preparation for both of them for the SEA Games and Asian Games,” national coach R. Puvaneswaran said when contacted.
The country’s chance of having a representative when karate makes its debut at the Olympics now rests on the shoulders of 2014 Karate1 World Cup champion R. Sharmendran in the men's Under-75kg category.
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