Friday, December 16, 2016

"I do not have special skills; I have the determination to win"

From left: Silat Champion Sheik Farhan with his father, Singapore Silat Federation
CEO Sheik Alau'ddin Credit: Singapore Silat Federation (PERSISI)

He may be a world silat champion but Sheik Farhan says he doesn’t have “special moves” or extraordinary skills”. Instead, he thinks it is his metal strength, will-power and confidence that has propell seed to him to the top.

Farhan, who is a year 3 student in digital and precision engineering, recently won a gold medal at World Pencak Silat Championships in Bali. He beat his opponent 5-0, despite having a bad ankle.

“I am happy and proud to win for my country,” said the soft-spoken 19-year-old, who confesses to being an introvert. So, most people at NYP would not know that they have a Silat champ walking alongside them in the corridors. “Nah, I don’t really talk about Silat too much,” he says with a small laugh.

Winning hasn’t come easy. A typical day would mean waking up at 6 am, leaving his home in Pasir Ris by 7 am, to get to NYP by 8 am or 9 am – when his classes usually start. But while most other students can go home or chill out after a long day of classes, Farhan heads to the OCBC Arena at Kallang, and trains to 10 pm. Sometimes, he even slots in an hour at the gym before formal training begins too. He usually gets home well after 11 pm, and the whole cycle starts again the next day.

This leaves little time for socialising. There is only his family, his team mates and a small circle of very good mates in school. But he’s not complaining: “Actually, I got to know my friends in school before I became a champion, they’ve never treated me differently.”

The love for Silat began early for Farhan. His father, Shiek Alau’ddin, is a two-time world Silat champion and chief executive of the Singapore Silat Federation. All six kids in the family, aged 9 to 23, trained with their father every Sunday since they were three-years-old.  All of the have competed internationally.

When asked whether he would ever go up against a sibling in competition, Farhan immediately replied with a firm “no”. He says:  “I don’t want to fight my siblings, I don’t want to create that opportunity where someone can say that “this sibling is better than the other”.”

So what’s next?

“In any competition, I always aim for first place. First place, no matter what competition it is,” said the tall, strapping lad.

In fact, he’s got his sights set on Silat after graduation: “I will continue with my sports because logically, it is my prime now and I can continue my studies any time, after my career or I can study while competing.”

By Germaine Leow, Diploma in Mass Media Management

Alongside her interests in writing and photography, Germaine aims to provide the best campus updates during her 4 years in NYP. With a Mass Media Management Diploma waiting for her at the end of her polytechnic journey, she promised herself to never forget the importance of hard work, for God gives the hardest battles to his strongest soldiers.

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