Just 17, Sheik Farhan is a world silat champion
He has been calm until yesterday, despite making his debut at such a prestigious competition.
But Sheik Farhan Sheik Alau'ddin, 17, became increasingly nervous as the clock ticked down in his Pencak Silat World Championships Class J (90-95kg) final in Phuket yesterday.
His opponent, Vietnam's Mach Quoc Hung, had held the upper hand for most of the final at the Saphan Hin Sports Centre.
But a kick in the last five seconds reversed the scenario. And Singapore have a new world champion.
In a phone interview with The New Paper yesterday, Farhan said: "It was tough, I didn't perform to the best of my ability in the first round. But I spoke to my coach after that and it improved.
"But I was still losing to him on points until the last five seconds. He tried to sweep me and failed, and I managed to execute a kick to get the points.
"From that point on, I knew I had won the title," said the Nanyang Polytechnic student, who was nursing a swollen shin in only his second senior-level competition.
In silat, the five jurors, seated around the ring, award points based on the technical strikes of the two opponents over three rounds to decide the winner.
Right after the match, Farhan rushed to celebrate with his father, silat icon Sheik Alau'ddin, brother Sheik Ferdous and his coach.
Sheik Alau'ddin, the Singapore Silat Federation's chief executive officer, was a world champion in 1990 in Holland and 1994 in Thailand.
Farhan was Singapore's last gold-medal hope, after world champion Shakir Juanda lost 4-1 in the Class H (80-85kg) semi-finals to Indonesia's Tri Juanda Samsul Bahar on Wednesday.
Farhan said: "I was sad for (Shakir), and I had more responsibility to do well after his loss, but it was a good kind of pressure. That extra responsibility motivated me, just like how it motivated me to win the semi-finals (on Wednesday when he stunned 2011 SEA Games bronze medallist Azrul Abdullah of Malaysia 4-1)."
Farhan also won the praise of Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Lawrence Wong, who said in a Facebook post: "Congrats to Sheik Farhan Sheik Alau'ddin who just won the gold medal at the Pencak Silat World Championships!
"Great achievement for someone who just recovered from a shin injury and who's competing for the first time in the tournament.
"Farhan's father is former silat world champion Sheik Alau'ddin, and I'm glad he's continuing the family tradition of excellence in this sport!"
Farhan's title gave the 20-strong Singapore team, who will return today, a haul of one gold, three silvers and four bronzes.
He is hoping this win will give him a shot at June's SEA Games here.
Farhan said: "The SEA Games team have already been selected some time ago, but hopefully they (the national selectors) will change their minds and I will be selected. I will just maintain my standards and train hard in the meantime."
- NAME: Sheik Farhan Sheik Alau’ddin
- HEIGHT: 1.86m
- WEIGHT: 91kg
- CLASS: J (90-95kg)
DID YOU KNOW
Farhan is the fourth of Singapore silat icon Sheik Alau’ddin’s five children. The two-time world champion’s eldest child, Nur Shafiqa, 21, also competed in the world championships in the women’s Class B (50-55kg) along with Ferdous, 18, who is the third oldest.
Ferdous finished second in the men’s artistic doubles with Shakir Juanda.