Silat champion Sheik Farhan wins BH achiever award
At just 17 years old, he followed his father's footsteps by becoming silat world champion in his weight class last year.
After winning the gold medal in the Class J (90-95kg) category at the 2015 World Pencak Silat Championship, Sheik Farhan Sheik Alau'ddin felt on top of the world.
He was, however, brought down to earth later in the year when he had to settle for just a bronze medal at the 2015 Southeast Asia Games (SEA Games).
Sheik Farhan said: "At that moment, I felt like what I had trained for had gone to waste."
But he bounced back by clinching gold medals in three other competitions - the Three Nations Championship last October, the 2016 National Pencak Silat Championship and the Asian Pencak Silat Championship this year.
For his achievements, Sheik Farhan won the Berita Harian Young Achiever Award yesterday, which is given to inspiring young Malay/Muslim Singaporeans aged 30 and below. .
Berita Harian editor Mohd Saat Abdul Rahman said: "This award is aimed at motivating young Malay/Muslims who have shown the potential to achieve greater heights.
"We hope this award will spur Sheik Farhan to continue to work hard and pursue his dreams and, while doing so, inspire other young Malay/Muslims to achieve their goals."
Despite being the son of pencak silat legend Sheik Alau'ddin Yacoob Marican, who won two world titles in the early 90s, Sheik Farhan said he has felt little pressure.
"When I compete, I don't think of what others expect of me, but rather what I expect of myself, which is nothing less than a first (place)," he told The New Paper.
His family members - his siblings are also silat exponents - were supportive after his SEA Games semi-final loss.
"After my loss, we started looking for silver linings," he said.
"They told me that I had won against a very strong opponent in the quarter-finals, and that I was not competing in my weight class (Class J, 90-95kg)."
He was initially not selected for the SEA Games because there was no Class J category, but was later drafted in to replace the injured Shakir Juanda in Class H (80-85kg).
Sheik Alau'ddin, 49, told TNP that he was overjoyed by his son's world title.
"Like all fathers, I felt great and overwhelmed by his win," he said.
"Because I was a world champion, an elite coach, and one who leads pencak silat in Singapore, people expect my kids to follow in my footsteps and win all the time.
"I would want them to do better than me. I pulled my kids to pencak silat so it's my responsibility that they do well in the sport," he said.
Sheik Farhan had set his sights on his next goals - victories at the Asian Beach Games and this year's World Pencak Silat Championship.
Meanwhile, the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year award was presented to Senior Assistant Commissioner (SAC) Zuraidah Abdullah, 54, for her leadership in serving the nation, and her dedication in helping the underprivileged Muslim community.
SAC Zuraidah said: "I hope these achievements will inspire the younger generation. If they work hard, if they put their mind to it, anything is possible. Don't be bogged down by gender or race. Instead, focus on what exactly you want to achieve, and work hard for it."
We hope this award will spur Sheik Farhan to continue to work hard and pursue his dreams.
- Berita Harian editor Mohd Saat Abdul Rahman