Magnificent seven for Singapore’s silat team
They surpass target with seven-gold haul at World Pencak Silat Championship
Singapore's silat exponents saved their best for last when they won four gold medals on the last day of the 18th World Pencak Silat Championship yesterday.
That brought their haul to seven golds, surpassing the six-gold target set by Singapore Silat Federation (Persisi) chief Sheik Alau'ddin.
After getting off to a superb start with three gold medals in the artistic discipline of the sport on Thursday, eight Singaporeans were in action at the OCBC Arena yesterday, with four of them - Sheik Farhan, Sheik Ferdous, Nurul Suhaila Mohd Saiful and Hazim Yusli - striking gold.
The haul of seven golds, six silvers and seven bronzes is Singapore's best showing at the event that is the pinnacle of the sport, and augurs well for the Republic's chances at next year's SEA Games in the Philippines.
It was extra special for newly minted three-time world champion Farhan who beat Vietnam's Pham Khac Truong to win gold in the Class J (90-95kg) final on his 21st birthday.
Rather than bask in his glory, he was delighted that his teammates are finally getting the exposure he believes they deserve.
This is the best team I’ve ever been in and I’m proud of every one of them, even those who didn’t win fought their hearts outNewly minted three-time world champion Sheik Farhan
"The first time I won gold at the World Championship, I was alone," Farhan said after receiving his medal.
"But, when I won that match just now, Singapore have already won five medals (in total), and it was a great feeling.
"We've all trained hard and my teammates deserve much more exposure than they are getting. We've waited so long for this and I'm so glad that they are now also getting exposure - they really deserve it.
"This is the best team I've ever been in and I'm proud of every one of them, even those who didn't win fought their hearts out."
Hazim also struck gold in Class B (50-55kg) while Ferdous triumphed in Class I (85-90kg).
The wait is finally over for Suhaila, who finally became a world champion after failing to strike gold in three previous editions of the competition.
"The last few years of losing at major competitions have pushed me to my limits and I'm grateful to all the support I've got from my coaches, teammates and those at Sport Singapore (SportSG) and the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) - they never gave up on me," said the 23-year-old.
Farhan, who will enlist for national service in the coming months, shared similar confidence, as the team look forward to next year's SEA Games in the Philippines.
"The hard part is maintaining your spot at the top but, after winning gold at the 2017 SEA Games and my second gold at the World Championship, this (third medal) means I'm on the right track," said Farhan, who vowed to commit as much time as he can to training despite his NS obligations.