Silat quartet to train in Indonesia for world championships
Silat exponents heading to Indonesia for workouts
They will be battered and bruised over the next two weeks, but the national silat exponents heading for training camps in Indonesia are looking forward to the experience.
The quartet of Shakir Juanda, Alfian Juma'en, Sheik Farhan and Sheik Ferdous will leave today for Medan in north Sumatra, and return on Thursday.
Next week, they will head to Sulawesi in east Indonesia for another training stint.
The overseas trips are part of Singapore Silat Federation chief executive Sheik Alau'ddin's plan to keep his top athletes fighting fit, with the World Championships at year's end the main target.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 40th National Championships at Pasir Ris Sports Hall yesterday, he said: "It will be a trial for them.
"I want them to be seasoned to the intensity, to get used to fighting high-quality opponents. They will fight up to twice in a day.
"I want them to become explosive, and also learn to adapt to make split-second decisions."
The 48-year-old, a two-time world champion, organised similar extended overseas trips in 2003 and 2005, when he was head coach of the national squad.
He said former national athletes suffered injuries like dislocations and concussions, but were the better for it.
Upon their return, Shakir and Co. will compete in up to 15 local, regional and international competitions in places like Belgium, Holland, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, as they look to peak for the World Championships in Bali in December.
Farhan, Sheik's second-youngest child, emulated his father when he triumphed in the Class H (80-85kg) category at the last World Championships in Phuket (in Jan 2015).
"The main thing I want to gain from this trip is more exposure," said the 18-year-old.
"I started training with the senior team only last year, so I haven't gone on many overseas training stints.
"But I learnt that at the World Championships, you won't know who you will face, what their size or style is.
"We've gone to Europe for training stints before, and now we're going to secluded areas in Indonesia where we don't know what to expect, so it will be good for us."
Alfian, who has won two successive South-east Asia (SEA) Games gold medals in the Class F (70-75kg) category, agreed.
"This kind of trip helps us gauge where we are on the international level," said the 19-year-old.
"In Indonesia, even their best fighters in the states or cities are of a very good level.
"We will be facing the unknown, and it will help us learn how to focus on our own strengths, instead of worrying about the opponents."
At yesterday's national championships, the Seni Grasio club led by Sheik were crowned overall champions for the eighth year running, winning half (48 golds, 25 silvers, seven bronzes) of the 96 golds on offer.
Sendeng Belalang were runners-up, with 22 gold, 22 silver and 15 bronze medals.