Farhan is last hope
He will meet Vietnamese in final, while Suhaila and Shakir lose to Indonesians
She was just one kick away from becoming a world champion yesterday.
But silat exponent Nurul Suhaila Mohamed Saiful, 19, fluffed her lines and allowed her opponent to score the points needed to beat her.
She lost 5-0 to Indonesia's Selly Andriani in the women's Class D (60 to 65kg) at the Pencak Silat World Championships in Phuket, Thailand, but the scores could so easily have been reversed.
In silat, the final scores depend on whom each of the five jurors deems to have won the match after three rounds.
The jurors sit at different points around the ring and note the technical strikes made by each exponent, tabulating the points total of each fighter.
NECK AND NECK
Suhaila was neck and neck with Selly until the third and final round.
"Towards the end, she was ahead of me by just one point," Suhaila told The New Paper in a phone interview.
"I needed just one successful kick to score two points and become world champion.
"But I panicked and fell as I tried to kick, and she executed a 'crocodile' takedown to score three points.
"By then, it was too late for me to come back."
The Ngee Ann Polytechnic mass communications student was so disappointed that she left the arena straight away and burst into tears.
But she is determined to use the defeat to inspire herself.
"I was really upset at first, because I was so close to the gold and I really wanted it badly," said Suhaila.
"But now, I'm just motivated to train and do my best at the SEA Games (in Singapore in June) to win gold."
She wasn't the only Singaporean to taste defeat yesterday.
Shakir Juanda, who became world champion at the last championships in 2012, lost 4-1 in the Class H (80-85kg) semi-finals to Indonesia's Tri Juanda Samsul Bahar.
Shakir, 27, said: "I'm really down and disappointed, but I will get back up and continue to do what I do best, which is fight.
"Now, my focus is on the SEA Games."
Singapore's last hope for a world champion rests on the young but broad shoulders of Sheik Farhan.
The 17-year-old beat 2011 SEA Games bronze medallist Azrul Abdullah of Malaysia 4-1 in the men's Class J (90-95kg) semi-finals. In tomorrow's final, he will face Vietnam's Mac Quoc Hong.
Farhan, the third of silat icon Sheik Alau'ddin's four sons, is unfazed despite being the last standing Singaporean at the championships.
The youngster, who stands at 1.86m and weighs 91kg, said: "I know there's pressure, but I want to use it positively.
"Like earlier today, my captain Shakir lost his match, and I told myself I needed to win my own semi-final for him and the rest of the team. Thank God, I managed to do it.
"I'll approach Friday's match the same way. I will just focus on myself and tell myself I can win.
"The small details, my coach will tell me just before I enter the ring. I'm ready."