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Pencak Silat world champs feel the heat at Beach Games

01 Oct 2016
Danang, Vietnam, October 1, 2016: As a three-time martial arts world champion, Malaysian Pencak Silat fighter Mohamed  Al-Jufferi Jamari has had his fair share of tough fights but not many as hard as the one he was involved in at the 5th Asian Beach Games on Saturday. His bout with Iran’s Akbar Kianian to decide the gold medal in the tanding 70 kg division became a battle of survival as much as skill.

Competing on sand on a baking hot day in central Vietnam, Jamari was never in danger of losing the final - all five judges awarded him victory - but he was so exhausted by the end that he almost collapsed. When the match was over, he slumped into a chair and did not move for 20 minutes as team officials trying to rehydrate him and cool him down with bags of ice.

“I have never been so tired. I just had no energy left,” he said. “We don’t normally compete on sand so my legs just got really, really tired and we also train and compete indoors, not outdoors in the sun.” Despite suffering in the conditions, Jamari was pleased to add the Asian Beach Games title to his already impressive CV.

In addition to winning three world titles, he is also a two-time South East Asian Games champion and the first Pencak Silat fighter to be named Malaysia’s national sportsman of the year. His achievements saw him included in Malaysia’s new Podium Programme, a government initiative launched this year with the aim of helping Malaysia finish in the top 10 countries at the 2018 Asian Games - where Pencak Silat will be included - and win a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“Every medal I win is for my country. My country helps me a lot and allows me to train hard and I want to repay my country by winning more medals," he said. Of the six gold medals decided in the men’s tanding events on Saturday, Vietnam won three while Thailand and Singapore won one each.

Singapore’s Sheik Farhan Alau'ddin paced himself perfectly in the humidity to beat Vietnam’s Le Sy Kien for the 85 kg title with a last second winning kick. Trailling on three of the five judge’s scorecards with 20 seconds seconds left, he pulled off two sweeping drops to turn the cards around and win 3-2.

“I guess I was kind of a little bit lucky because I got those two points from kicks right at the end,” he said. “Like a lot of people, I haven’t competed on the sand before but we had some camps and extra training to adapt to the beach. “I felt OK with the sand even though the balance wasn’t always there and I couldn’t apply my techniques as much. It was definitely very hard”

Alau'ddin won his first world title last year as a 17-year-old and hopes to emulate his father by winning a second at the world titles in Bali in December. “My dad was a two-time world champion so me and my siblings were brought into the sport very early, I didn’t even remember when we started,” Alau’ddin said.
“I  won my first competition so I felt like I can be a winner in this sport and I liked the feeling when I won. So I just grew to love the sport.”
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