Living up to the family name

Living up to the family name
Sheikh Alauddin (left) and Sheik Ferdous showing their silat stance in Naypyidaw. The 17-year-old bronze medallist knows he has a long way to go to match his father, a four-time SEA Games champion.

When Singapore silat legend Sheikh Alauddin walks on the streets of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, he is often recognised with waves and requests to pose for snapshots.

It led his second son Sheik Ferdous to question just how he puts up with all the attention.

The two-time world champion replied: "That's why it's your turn now to be a sporting hero too.

"Then people will recognise you, instead of me."

The ongoing SEA Games is just that opportunity for Ferdous to kick-start the long and arduous road to the top.

The 17-year-old is among a host of second-generation athletes hoping to follow in the footsteps of their illustrious relatives.

But a famous surname comes with its own kind of pressure.

At his Games debut this week, Ferdous clinched bronze in the men's artistic silat doubles with Muhammad Nurshahrin Sharudin.

"Bronze is not a colour usually associated with the Sheikh name," said the Temasek Polytechnic student, referring to his father's four-gold Games haul.

"It's a good stepping stone, but I have a long, long way to go to live up to my dad's legacy."

Swimmer Nur Marina Chan, in Myanmar as a reserve on the women's 4x100m freestyle relay team, sees it differently, even with several famous relatives who once ruled in the pool.

Dad Bernard and uncles Alex and Roy have competed at the Olympic and Asian Games. And her aunt is none other than Patricia Chan, who won 39 SEA Games golds from 1965 to 1973, second all-time only to former swim queen Joscelin Yeo (40).

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