Third-gen player Izwandy gives takraw a kick

FAMILY is a vital pillar of support and inspiration in an athlete's rise to success.

And at next month's SEA Games, national sepak takraw player Izwandy Zamri will be looking for exactly those motivational qualities from his family.

After all, both the 16-year-old's father Zamri Kamsin and grandfather Kamsin Moslin had featured for Singapore at the SEA Games.

Kamsin was the team coach when Singapore won bronze at the 1987 Jakarta Games, while Zamri was a national player when the team won bronze at the 1985 edition in Bangkok.

Not surprisingly, Izwandy credits his family for inspiring him to pick up the sport.

"I would always hear stories about the tournaments they have taken part in and of course the SEA Games is one competition that has been talked about more than the others," he said, to the laughter of his father.

"All these stories helped to inspire me, and I told myself that one day I have to get to the (SEA Games). Without them, I am not sure if I would even play takraw."

Izwandy started playing the sport when he was just six years old, juggling the rattan balls that his father kept around the house.

Just 10 years later, the Chua Chu Kang Secondary student will be doing exactly that in front of the home crowd in the chinlone competition, a sport-dance combination where teams try to juggle the rattan ball to score points.

And Zamri could not be happier that his son is set to follow his footsteps as a national player.

Said the 49-year-old: "Sepak takraw is something that has really bonded the family, and I am just so proud that we have another family member who is going to represent the country at the SEA Games.

"Maybe he will get a medal, or maybe he won't. But for him to be in the Games at such a young age, I am very happy for him.

"Now he must work harder to make sure he has a chance to be in the next few editions of the Games as well."

As for grandfather Kamsin, he has urged Izwandy to take the sport by storm.

"He has a lot of potential. I don't want to put pressure on him but I know he is capable of great things," said the 74-year-old.

Family ties also run strong for Singapore coach Padzli Othman, whose 21-year-old son Danial Feriza will be competing at the Games in the men's team event.

Like Izwandy, Danial comes from a family of sporting success, as Padzli was part of the men's regu team who won silver in the 1993 Singapore SEA Games, the best achievement by the country in the sport.

Padzli, 49, took part in five Games but remembers fondly the support he received in 1993: "It was crazy. People would fill the arena and there would be plenty more outside who could not force their way in.

"I hope the current team will receive similar support because it will definitely motivate them to do better."

Danial, 21, who weighed 122kg a few years ago, has since lost 25kg and is eager to write a new chapter in his family's sporting achievement. The ITE College West student said: "People around me said that I was too heavy to play this game. My dad always told me that if I wanted it bad enough, I would get there.

"Through my hard work, I am here and now I want my own silver medal to put beside my dad's."

drajac@sph.com.sg