KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s P. Thennavan is among 26 candidates who are in the running to referee at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games karate competition in July next year.

The 49-year-old, who had served at many World Karate Federation (WKF) tournaments, said he was surprised and honoured to find his name on the list when the world body announced it on Friday.

“I did not expect this at all because there are many other candidates around the world. However, it will be a tough process because out of the 26, only 17 will be shortlisted for the Tokyo Games.

“We need to go through more evaluation by attending tournaments in 2021. From there, it will be decided whether I am ready or not by the evaluators from WKF,” he told Bernama today.

Thennavan, who holds a 6th Dan black belt in karate, had won the Asian Games bronze twice, emerged as SEA Games champion five times and won the national title seven times before retiring in 1997.

Thennavan, who is one of the top-ranked referees in Malaysia and chairman of Malaysian Karate Federation (Makaf) Referee Council, began his career as a referee even when he was still an exponent in the 1990s. – Bernama