SINGAPORE - Trepidation and fear
Those were the feelings that swept over Radeem Rahman, Singapore's first professional athlete in mixed martial arts (MMA).
The first Malay MMA champion was not daunted by the prospect of facing opponents in the caged ring, but, rather, of visiting his parents-in-law during Hari Raya.
After all, it was the first time that Radeem, 27, and his wife, Siti Nurhuda Zamrot, also 27, would be celebrating Lebaran together.
"Still scared," he told Berita Harian, chuckling. "This is the first time I'm meeting and asking for forgiveness from them this Hari Raya.
"But at the same time, I'm happy and can't wait to meet my wife's family this Hari Raya to deepen the goodwill between us."
Although he is busy with MMA training - as many as three times a day, even during Ramadan - the extreme-sport champion said he was taking three days off to welcome his relatives and visit his family.
Ms Siti Nurhuda, a National Museum coordinator, was also excited to be celebrating Hari Raya as husband and wife - the couple got married in October. She added that she and Radeem had ordered matching turquoise traditional garments.
"Radeem helps me and his mother in the kitchen and prepares the green packets, even though he is always busy with training.
"I know he is tired after returning home, but when I wake him up to ask for help, he does," she said. The couple are now trying for a child.
Even though it was the first time they would be celebrating Lebaran together, she said she already knew what her husband's favourite snacks are.
"On Hari Raya, Radeem's favourite snacks are...almond biscuits and chocolate-chip biscuits. But we have also prepared other snacks, including traditional ones like tart cakes and makmur biscuits," added Ms Siti Nurhuda, who lives with Radeem's parents in Sengkang.
Radeem, who undergoes daily training at the Evolve Mixed Martial Arts gymnasium in Far East Square, near Chinatown, said that his favourite fare during Hari Raya is rendang and spicy tomato chicken.
He also gave thanks to his family, trainer, friends and fans who always support and encourage him to improve in MMA.
"Their support and encouragement give me more energy and drive me to work hard at improving myself, and chase more success in this sport," added Radeem, who beat Malaysia's Raymond Tan in his last competition, One Fighting Championship Honour and Glory, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in May.
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