KUALA LUMPUR - Two up-and-coming Singaporean silat exponents in Hazim Yusli and Sharifah Shazza Shamsuri were crowned champions at the World Junior Pencak Silat Championships on Thursday.
Hazim, a 14-year-old student from Teck Whye Secondary School, who currently stands at 1.60m and weighs 42 kg, refused to let his small stature get in the way as he thrashed his Vietnamese opponent Lin Duc Hoa 5-0 to take the title in the Class A (39-43kg) category.
Singapore Silat Federation chief executive and two-time silat world champion Sheik Alau'ddin was elated at the big win. He said: "When you look at his skinny body, you might think he's 'lembik'(soft in Malay), but his technique is good and his kicks are powerful."
Compatriot Sharifah was also crowned a junior world champion in the Class E (55-59kg) category. But the 15-year-old's win was not without controversy, as halfway through her semi-final against an Indonesian opponent, her rival protested against a call made by the referee, as reported in The New Paper.
And while the referees were debating the call for about 20 minutes, a coaching staff member from the Indonesian team was seen pouring water onto the competition mat.
Alau'ddin opposed the behaviour and wanted the Indonesian disqualified but the fight proceeded, and it ultimately saw the Singaporean lose by one point.
Unhappy about the result, he filed a formal complaint and successfully managed to persuade the judges' chairman that foul play by the Indonesian side was grounds for disqualification.
However, the Indonesian head of delegation refused to accept the result, and in order to appease the situation, the secretary-general of Malaysia's silat federation, Megat Zulkarnain Omardin, decided to award gold medals to the top three finishers in Class E.
Despite the drama, Singapore finished the competition as the third-best nation out of 12, taking home a total of two golds, five silvers and seven bronzes.