National silat star Shakir eyes gold

National silat star Shakir eyes gold
Singapore's silat exponents bagged two silvers and three bronzes in the first day of competition at the Pencak Silat World Championships in Phuket, Thailand.

A silver medal at the World Championships is already in the bag, but national silat star Shakir Juanda, 27, is eyeing a bigger prize.

Together with Sheik Ferdous - the second son of Singapore's silat great Sheik Alau'ddin - Shakir finished second in the men's artistic doubles with 569 points, behind Indonesia (580 points). Malaysia (563) were third.

The duo's performance capped off a good day for Singapore at the event in Phuket, Thailand, where fighters from 57 countries will be competing until Saturday.

The team's haul yesterday is two silvers and three bronzes.

Shakir, however, is focused on retaining the Class H (80-85kg) title he won at the last world championships in Chiang Rai, Thailand, in 2012.

"Ferdous and I had aimed for at least a medal and, thankfully, our performance was good enough to get us ahead of Vietnam and Malaysia to win the silver," said the Sports Excellence (Spex) Scholar.

"Now, I'm looking forward to my first tanding (combat) match tomorrow, a quarter-final against a Nepalese fighter.


"Today's silver medal has given my hopes of retaining my title a good boost."

While he was delighted with his first world championship medal, Ferdous does not feel burdened by being two-time former world champion Sheik Alau'ddin's son.

Said the 18-year-old: "Being his son doesn't really give me any added pressure. Right now, I just feel really good and thankful because we've been training really hard for this tournament."

There was also joy for Iqbal Abdul Rahman, who also bagged a men's individual artistic silver.

The 21-year-old had a bronze in 2012 - one of the seven bronzes Singapore won, along with Shakir's gold.

Said Iqbal: "Every athlete's goal is to win but, in my heart, I just wanted to perform my best.

"This silver is really a bonus, so I don't feel as though I lost out on the gold.

"I didn't expect to perform as well as I did in the final round... I did fantastic.

"I managed to push through the entire three-minute routine, kept composed and didn't make any mistakes."

Singapore's three bronzes yesterday were all from artistic events: Irham Mustafa Kamal, Haziq Zainal Abidin and Hamillatu Arash Juffie (men's team), Nur Fazlin Juma'en, Nurul Khairunissa Azlani and Nur Shafiqa Sheik Alau'ddin (women's team), and Nur Azlyana Ismail and Nurshahidah Budin Shah (women's doubles).

This article was first published on Jan 12, 2015.
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