Floorball star Amirul is a team player

Amirul Afiq Bakthiar is quiet and shy.

He is the star of the Raffles Institution A Division boys' floorball team, but constantly reminds The New Paper the achievement was a team effort.

He scored the winning goals in the semi-final (7-5 win against Meridien Junior College) and final (3-2 win against Anglo-Chinese Junior College), notching up 10 goals as he propelled the RI side to the title.

Amirul is proud of the win, and the fact that he plays floorball.

Ask him what he thinks of those who consider floorball as a "softer version of hockey", and automatically his eyebrows are raised.

And his tone changes.

"Well, those people should play a game of floorball first; see what it's like," said a clearly miffed Amirul.

The 17-year-old makes no bones about the demands of the sport.

"It's similar to ice hockey; there's a lot of speed involved and everyone gets time on the floor," he said.

"That's what I like best about floorball. You get in, sprint for two minutes, and then rest on the bench for the next two."

While many would prefer a sport with more continuity, Amirul enjoys the frenetic stop-start pace, which actually demands a high level of fitness.

Standing at just 1.67m tall, the diminutive centre first picked up a floorball stick at age nine, while at Pasir Ris Primary School.

"My first choice was football, but Pasir Ris was very strong in that sport, and I wasn't good enough to make the team. So, I joined the floorball-hockey CCA instead," he explained.

Eight years on, Amirul is headed for bigger things.

He is set to step up as team captain in his final year at RI next year.

Singapore will host the South-east Asia (SEA) Games next June and floorball will make its bow for the first time in the region's biggest multi-sport event.

Dreaming of playing in front of his own fans, Amirul plans to attend the open trials for Singapore's national floorball team next month.

He went for national team trials last year, but lost out to the older players.

This time around, he's ready to go one better.

"The first two trial sessions are just fitness tests - the 2.4km and a Beep Test. They want only the fittest of the fittest," Amirul said.

"I think I'm up to mark with the physical (side), but I don't know if I'll be selected."


This article was first published on July 31, 2014.
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