Silat squad for four-week, high-intensity training tour in March
Silat's Sheik plans to whip charges into shape with high-intensity training tour in March
In a bid to prepare his charges for next year's World Pencak Silat Championships, Sheik Alau'ddin will turn to an "old school" method.
The two-time world champion is planning to take Singapore's top silat exponents on a four-week training tour overseas, sparring in tough matches "every four days" to get them fighting fit.
The 48-year-old, who is chief executive of the Singapore Silat Federation (Persisi), organised similar extended overseas trips in 2003 and 2005, when he was head coach of the national squad.
"From the second week of March, all the way up till the first week of April, we will go on a training camp," Sheik told The New Paper yesterday.
"We will go to Ho Chi Minh City and five or six locations in Indonesia to train and spar.
"The idea is to have two matches every four days. I want to see whether our athletes are ready and whether they can take the intensity.
"Everyone can train. But, to fight that regularly, against opponents who will give you everything they have... that's another thing.
They will end up battered and bruised, added Sheik, but they will be better for it.
He said: "I remember when I did the trips more than 10 years ago, a lot of people dropped out midway.
"I had people telling me: "I'm scared, I cannot do it, I want to go home.
"There were people with dislocations, concussions... But this is what they have to do.
"They have to be ready to face anything when they are in competition.
"If not, they'll be too guarded and cautious. And you'll never win anything if you have that mentality."
Upon their return, the athletes will compete in up to 15 local, regional and international competitions in places such as Belgium, Holland, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, as they hope to peak for the World Championships in Bali in December.
Sheik was speaking yesterday on the sidelines of a flag-raising ceremony at the Persisi headquarters in Bedok for Singapore's team taking part in the upcoming World Junior Silat Championships.
The competition, for athletes aged between 14 and 17, will be held from Dec 26 to 31 in Kuala Lumpur.
The four-time SEA Games winner picked out two tyros from the Republic's team who could surprise - Hakim Shamsuddin, 15, and Siti Khadijah Shahrem, 14.
Said Sheik: "This is the first big international competition for a lot of our boys and girls, so it's hard to say how well we will do.
"Hakim has good height and very good technique.
"But he has to overcome his mental block when he's up against bigger opponents.
"Khadijah, meanwhile, is very determined to prove what she can do.
"She listens to all her coaches and gives her all in training every day. She's a very focused girl."
Singapore Sports School student Hakim, who will compete in the match Class H (67kg to 71kg) category and artistic doubles, said: "I'm a little nervous because there are many countries competing, but I've trained hard, and I want to go for it and become world champion."
Khadijah, who will compete in the match Class F (58kg to 63kg) category, added: "I've competed in KL and Jakarta before, but this is my first World Championships.
"I know the standard will be very competitive and the atmosphere is something else, but I'll still try to get gold."