Ice-cool Farhan adds SEA Games gold to world titles
Silat youngster blocks out distractions to add SEA Games gold to his two world titles
He was up against the home favourite, who had the backing of hundreds of vociferous countrymen.
But Sheik Farhan told himself: "No sweat."
The unflappable 19-year-old Singaporean was in control of the pencak silat Class J (90-95kg) final from start to finish at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Hall 4 yesterday afternoon, and duly beat Khaizul Yaacob 5-0 to win the gold medal.
This was Farhan's first SEA Games triumph, which now sits alongside the two World Pencak Silat Championship titles he won in 2016 and 2017 as his highest achievements in the sport.
His ultra-composed, almost nonchalant demeanour played a significant part in his win yesterday.
Apart from helping him to block out the noisy crowd and white-hot atmosphere, it also helped him forget about the subjective juror scoring, which some observers claim favours the home fighter.
In the third and final round, with Khaizul behind on points and attempting to score strikes or a takedown on the Singaporean to catch up, there was a three-minute delay because of a technical glitch on the scoreboard.
None of that rattled Farhan, who is the fourth child of silat great Sheik Alau'ddin.
I don’t like to celebrate too much. It’s just one competition. By the time you get to the next competition, you are a different person. I don’t feel like I have any bragging rights.Sheik Farhan
He told The New Paper: "Of course I was aware of (the jurors), but I tried not to think about it.
"After all, I can't do anything about it.
"So I just focused on my punch, kicks and takedowns, and tried to get as many points as possible.
"As for the scoreboard... This kind of thing happens sometimes. It didn't do anything to me. I had the same focus throughout."
It seems nothing fazes the Singapore Sport School alumnus.
When TNP suggested the nickname "Iceman" - bestowed to athletes like tennis great Bjorn Borg and Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen who have similar dispositions - would suit him, Farhan broke out into laughter.
"No need lah," he said, with a chuckle. Farhan is good enough."
Indeed, it was. His gold medal was one of two won by Singapore's silat exponents yesterday, and the only one in the tanding (match) category.
Two-time world champion Shakir Juanda, 28, was beaten 5-0 by Vietnam's Nguyen Van Tri in the Class I (85-90kg) final after he tore his right medial cruciate ligament during the match, meaning his hunt for an elusive SEA Games gold medal continues.
And 20-year-old Alfian Juma'en, who was silat's only gold medallist in 2013 and 2015, was also beaten 5-0 by another Vietnamese, Nguyen Duy Tuyen, in the Class G (75-80kg) final.
Nurhuzairah Yazid delivered the Republic's second silat gold of the Games when she triumphed in the artistic women's tunggal (singles) final.
Singapore's silat contingent will return with a haul of two golds, four silvers and six bronzes - their best performance at the SEA Games since 2003, when they won three golds, two silvers and 10 bronzes in Hanoi.
However, it fell short of the five-gold target Sheik Alau'ddin, who is the Singapore Silat Federation chief executive officer, had set before the tournament.
"Apart from Shakir, we have a young team, but these kids train hard every day and I believe they are ready (to win at senior competitions)," said the four-time SEA Games gold medallist.
"I'm sure they will continue to make things happen, because we have a very good team here and very good support from Sport Singapore and the Singapore Sport Institute."