Four-pillar plan to take silat forward
Persisi unveils blueprint with the Olympics as the ultimate target
The Singapore Silat Federation (Persisi) last night unveiled a four-pillar plan to grow the sport here, as it works towards its ultimate goal of having a Singaporean compete in pencak silat at the Olympics, should the sport get the nod.
Persisi chief executive officer Sheik Alau'ddin shed light on the plan during a sharing session at the OCBC Arena with over 300 parents and young athletes from the local pencak silat community.
The two-time world champion, 51, said he had come up with four key performance indicators (KPIs) that he wants Persisi to meet in the coming years.
First, he wants the national sports association to groom non-Malay athletes for the national team and hire non-Malay staff in its management, in a bid to make the sport more inclusive.
Second, he wants to produce a national syllabus and grading system, so there is a standardised training programme from grassroots to the elite level.
Sheik also said that he aims to increase participation - he wants to increase the number of national training squad members from about 120 to 300 by early next year.
The federation would also sharpen its focus on fund-raising efforts to beef up its reserves.
Said Sheik: "I've been thinking about this for quite a while.
"We have been working very closely with (national sports agency) Sport Singapore and the Singapore Sports Institute, and I feel we have to make a big change to get even better.
"I am confident we can meet the KPIs. For participation, for example, we are likely to have an ActiveSG programme by next year, and we will engage the tertiary institutions and societies like Jamiyah to find talent."
Sheik said that 2018 is an important year for Persisi as there are two major competitions - the Asian Games and the World Pencak Silat Championships - both in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Pencak silat will make its debut at the Asiad next August in the Indonesian capital, where the world championships will be held four months later.
Said Sheik: "For the Asian Games, our target will be two gold medals - one in the tanding (match) category and one in the artistic category.
"We hope to hit more, of course, but the target is a minimum of two golds."
With silat set to mark a milestone at next year's Asian Games, Sheik has already set his sights on a much bigger target - the Olympics.
He said that he has been working with international silat body Persilat and its president Prabowo Subianto, a prominent Indonesian businessman, politician and former Lieutenant-General in the Indonesian army, to realise the dream.
2032 OLYMPICS, THE TARGET
"Realistically, we are looking at the 2032 Olympics," said Sheik.
"In 2025, we have to put in the formal bid for silat's inclusion and Persilat has targeted a budget of US$54 million (S$73m) to make it happen.
"Persilat is serious and has allocated US$6m from the budget, for rebranding."
Last night, Persisi invited parents and young athletes from the local silat community to a sharing session at its training base at OCBC Arena Hall 4, to talk about the association and its future plans.
Said Persisi president Mohd Yasrin Mohd Yasil: "The reason that we are all here is because we want to develop a close relationship among Persisi, athletes, and parents."
One such parent, Muhammad Razak, 41, was heartened by what he learnt last night.
The former silat exponent, who was in the national squad from 1993 to 1997, has two sons, Muhammad Rizqan, 19, and Muhammad Rizuan, 14, who both recently joined the national age-group training squads.
Said Razak: "This meeting is really good for parents to learn more about what is going on.
"The training facilities and support team are really impressive, and I would say it is complete. Things were much different in the past - we used to train on bare concrete."
Persisi will hold an open selection for next year's major Games - which include the World Junior Pencak Silat Championships - on Dec 9 and its annual registration will be on Jan 6, both at the OCBC Arena.