Pesaka's bold decision bears fruit
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - The bold decision taken by the Malaysian National Silat Federation (Pesaka) to field majority new faces at the 2023 Sea Games was the right move as the national silat squad emerged among the best teams for the Malaysian contingent at this Games.
Listing 14 new faces out of 19 exponents in this edition, the national silat squad won four gold, five silver and four bronze medals, thus surpassing the target of two gold medals.
The four-gold feat started with twin exponents Muhammad Danial Azray Noorazizan and Muhammad Danial Azrol winning the Putra (men's) ganda event.
The other three gold medals were contributed by Norsyakirah Muksin in the Putri (women's) 40-45 kilogrammes (kg) category, Nor Farah Mazlan (Putri 45-50kg) and Muhammad Izzul Irfan Marzuki (Putra 60-65kg).
Although some had doubted the ability of the line-up consisting of young athletes with no competing experience to carry Malaysia's challenge at this regional sports gala in Cambodia, they actually proved to be able to shoulder the responsibility well.
Summarisiing the achievements of the national silat camp in the silat competition which ended on Wednesday, Pesaka president Datuk Megat Zulkarnain Omardin admitted that the squad's achievements were extraordinary.
He hailed the sacrifices and high fighting spirit displayed by the country's silat exponents, whether they won medals or otherwise, because some of them fought despite unfavourable health condtions.
"I am very satisfied with the team's performance, not only did the athletes contribute medals, but those who were eliminated early also gave a positive sign for Pesaka. They gave everything in the bouts, for example Farah had a serious hand injury.
"Although before this we had mentioned the target of two golds, in my heart they were capable of giving more than that. Alhamdulillah, this was a strategy we took to disband the national squad after the World Silat Championship in Melaka last year and give opportunities to younger exponents.
"Many gave their views and stated that the decision to send young exponents was not right. I appreciate that point of view, but Alhamudilllah our strategy was correct. In addition, we brought on board former national silat exponents Mohd Fauzi Khalid and Siti Rahmah Mohamed Nasir as coaches and it bore fruit," he said.
However, he said the young silat exponents still have a long way to go and they should not be satisfied with the success achieved at this Games.
He said after this Games, the national squad are scheduled to participate in tournaments in Europe and Asia, and most importantly face the World Silat Championships early next year.
Before participating in the Sea Games, he said the younger set of exponents were exposed to the Asian Silat Championships in Kashmir and the Sarawak Premier International Championship 2023 two months ago. - BERNAMA