THE Penang pencak silat team has set a one gold medal target when it takes part in the 20th Sukma in Kuala Lumpur from Sept 16 to 24 this year.

Chief coach Shuhairi Chin, 37, said the modest target was based on the team’s performance in the last Sukma held in 2018 in Perak where the Penang team clinched one gold through Mohamad Hafiz Halim and one silver through Mohamad Ridzuan Abdullah.

On top of that, he said the introduction of new rules would also bring about new challenges to the contestants.

“We also take into account new rules that will apply in the silat competition this year. We have improvised new pulling techniques for our exponents to bring down their opponents. And if they can master a few of the techniques, that will be enough.

“The new rules are to make the championships more aggressive and appealing like the MMA (mixed martial arts).

“Pencak silat is a very tough sport. Besides the need to be mentally fit, you have to have strong stamina and be in top physical shape to win the contest,” Shuhairi, who is assisted by Abdul Hafidz Marzuki, told Buletin Mutiara in an interview at the Penang State Sports Council training centre in Batu Uban.

Before becoming a full-time silat coach for the past nine years, Shuhairi had represented Malaysia in three SEA Games – in the Philippines in 2005, Korat, Thailand in 2007 and Laos in 2009. He won a bronze in Laos.

He had also represented Malaysia in the 2007 World Championships in Kuantan where he clinched a bronze medal in the Putra B Class (50-55kg).

In 2008, Shuhairi took part in Sukma but he unfortunately suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on his right knee. It took him 10 or 11 months of rehabilitation before he bounced back to the national team in 2009 after impressing the selectors in two international meets.

As a full-time coach under the payroll of the Penang State Sports Council, Shuhairi has also been tasked with the junior development programme. He has now about 20 exponents under his wings.

“What I demand from all my trainees is commitment. When you are committed to training hard and systematically, it will one day bear fruit,” Shuhairi said.

Source: Buletin Mutiara