Farhan claims Asian silat gold

Silat world champion and current Sportsboy of the Year Sheik Farhan yesterday added an Asian title to his two world titles and recent SEA Games gold medal.

The 19-year-old beat Vietnamese Pham Khac Truong 4-1 in the final of the men's tanding Class J (90-95kg) category at the Asian Pencak Silat Championships in Chungju, South Korea.

It was Farhan's first fight against the Vietnamese, and although he was glad to have won, he was not too pleased with his performance.

He told The New Paper in a phone interview: "My performance was good enough to win but there are a lot of things I can still work on."

A total of 11 countries participated in this year's Championships.

Farhan's father, silat legend Sheik Alau'ddin, who is also the chief executive officer of the Singapore Silat Federation (Persisi), also felt Farhan was not at his best in the final.

Said the senior Sheik: "I don't quite like the way he fought. It was too dangerous, even though he managed to beat his opponent.

"For the SEA Games, we pushed him very hard to make sure that his mindset, body, and skills were there, but after that, he laid off.

"He took off, went for a holiday, relaxed his mind, and he started to put on weight.

"He was at 90.5kg during the SEA Games, but this time, at the first fight, he was at 93.3kg.

"I need him to come back like when he was training for the SEA Games. It's critical because these athletes need to be focused all the time."

Persisi sent a team of five athletes to compete in the tanding, or match, category at the Championships.

Besides Farhan, another teenager, 17-year-old Hazim Yusli, won a silver in the Class A (45-50kg) category, while Abdul Raaziq won a bronze in the Class F (70-75kg) category.

In the seni, or artistic, category, Singapore claimed both the men's and women's artistic doubles gold medals.

Nujaid Hasif and Haziq Zainal Abidin captured the men's title, while the pair of Nur Azlyana Ismail and Nurhanishah Shahrudin won the women's.