Hard-earned golds for S'pore's silat warriors

Alfian Juma'en and Nurul Suhaila both clinched gold at the 2nd Asian Pencak Silat Championships. Singapore won eight golds in total.
Alfian Juma'en (above) and Nurul Suhaila both clinched gold at the 2nd Asian Pencak Silat Championships. Singapore won eight golds in total.
Alfian Juma'en and Nurul Suhaila both clinched gold at the 2nd Asian Pencak Silat Championships. Singapore won eight golds in total.
Alfian Juma'en and Nurul Suhaila (above) both clinched gold at the 2nd Asian Pencak Silat Championships. Singapore won eight golds in total.

Silat exponent Muhammad Nur Alfian Juma'en is making a habit of winning major titles after suffering sheer agony.

Last weekend at the 2nd Asian Pencak Silat Championships, Alfian defeated Vietnam's Nguyen Duy Tuyen 5-0 in the Class G (75-80kg) final but only after fracturing his right hand in the first round - courtesy of a kick by his opponent.

Last year, he won SEA Games gold after suffering a deep cut on his left foot halfway into the final.

But the 19-year-old is willing to brave the pain, saying: "Everything comes with a price to pay. If this is how I must win, then what do I do? I just have to accept it."

Despite the early setback against Tuyen, Alfian did not realise how badly hurt he was. He said: "It was uncomfortable throughout the bout but I didn't want to show it in case my opponent realised I was injured.

"I never imagined it'd be a fracture. After the match, the medic said it was just a swelling. But it was only after an X-ray at the hospital the next day did I find out I fractured my third and fourth metacarpal."

But Alfian was rewarded for his grit. Apart from winning the Asian Championship gold to help Singapore rack up eight golds in total, he was also named the best male athlete.

Another big winner was Nurul Suhaila Saiful. The 21-year-old picked up her first career gold medal when she beat Vu Thi Chi from Vietnam 5-0 in the Class D (60-65kg) final as well as the best female athlete award.

Suhaila said: "In my last three competitions, I reached the final but lost every one of them. This time, I was really hungry for gold and told myself, 'Do you want another silver again?'. It was do-or-die for me and I'm relieved that I pulled it off."

Singapore placed second in the overall medal tally with eight golds, nine silvers and six bronzes. Vietnam's 13 golds, six silvers and four bronzes made them champions while Thailand settled for third (two golds, five silvers and six bronzes).

Yogaraj Panditurai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2016, with the headline 'Hard-earned golds for S'pore's silat warriors'. Print Edition | Subscribe