World Silat champ collapsed after complaining of chest pains

SINGAPORE - Singapore's first silat world champion, Abdul Kadir Ibrahim, died suddenly on Friday night.

It is understood that the 40-year-old collapsed after complaining of chest pains following a jog.

He leaves behind a wife and six children, the youngest of whom was born last month.

He dabbled in coaching after retiring from competition before starting his own business.

Mr Kadir was buried on Saturday morning.

When The New Paper on Sunday visited their four-room flat at Woodlands Saturday afternoon, it was quiet but sombre.

His wife, who declined to comment, looked visibly affected as she spoke to some community leaders.

Mr Kadir's friends and family were huddled around in small groups at his flat.

He won the Match Male Class 'E' title at the 5th World Championships in Kuala Lumpur in 1997.

Two years later, he won the gold medal at the SEA Games in Brunei.

Singapore Silat Federation chief executive officer, Mr Sheik Alauddin, 46, told The New Paper on Sunday: "He was a great friend and a greater father figure. Everyone is just shocked and sad."

The former three-time world champion also said: "It is a great loss to the silat community and federation.

"He was always proud of the fact that he experienced the glory of carrying the Singapore flag." Mr Sheik had known Mr Kadir since they competed together in silat tournaments since 1993.

He said: "Kadir always put his heart and soul to give the best performance. And he always trained hard without a single complaint."

He added that on the mat, Mr Kadir was always raring to go, never giving up without a fight.

Mr Sheik recalls the European Championships in Amsterdam in 2001, where Mr Kadir fought bravely to win the gold medal despite having two injuries.

"He was the best athlete out there and the best champion," said Mr Sheik. But off the mat, Mr Kadir always had a smile to offer.

Mr Sheik said: "He was always calm, steady and brave."

Mr Afiq Shazni, a 23-year-old student, was a former student of Mr Kadir.

At the age of 15, a year after he started practising silat, he trained under Mr Kadir for three years.

Mr Afiq says: "He was my favourite coach . He always saw potential in me and guided and pushed me.

"Not only did he coach me, he gave me advice on other aspects of life, including my studies."

In fact, Mr Afiq said he still lives by the words Mr Kadir once said to him: "When you have a dream, it does not guarantee success. But if you don't have a dream, it will definitely guarantee you failure."

Get The New Paper for more stories.