Blood, Sweat and Tears – Literally
12 June 2017
It will be a long time before Singapore forgets the vivid scene in 2015 of how one man, bloodied and bruised, pushed through his pain with an artful dodge to deliver a counter strike that bested a world champion.
This same man will then tearfully – with 'indescribable emotion' – sing the national anthem on top of the podium, sealing his glory moment into the annals of Singapore sporting history as one of the poignant moments in Pencak Silat. This man is none other than Nur Alfian.
Home is where the silat mat is
“When I do silat, I feel comfortable. I feel like I'm at home. It makes me happy.”
– Muhd Nur Alfian Bin Juma'en
Starting the sport when he was 5 years old in kindergarten, his main motivation to pick up the martial art came from to his sister. She would attend training at a nearby mosque every Saturday. This stirred a young Alfian to ask his mother to sign him up for classes. Three years later, the Singapore Silat Federation would open a class for 8- to 12-year-olds which he would enrol in, and according to Alfian, things got serious after that.
Before his SEA Games debut, Alfian made his first international debut at the 2006 World Championships in France where he would get a taste of things to come. At a tender age of ten, he had knocked out each of his opponents within the first round, earning himself a gold medal. There, he saw the extent of his potential and decided to go all out with his training in a bid to be the best.
#ICYMI: Check out Alfian's canvas on Facebook (only on mobile)
Facing off with World Champions
As fate would have it, Alfian needed to beat opponents that were at the top of their game during the finals of both the 2013 and 2015 SEA Games. In 2013, Alfian – then 17 – caused two major upsets in his SEA Games debut in Myanmar. He showed no fear when he beat the defending gold medallist during the semis, and then executed intelligent gameplay to bring down the then-World Champion, Vietnam's Ty Pham Van.
It was almost an exact repeat in the 2015 SEA Games on home ground, but with a few extra spanners thrown into the works – Singapore was looking to him to secure the only Gold for silat, his final opponent was then-World Champion Tran Dinh Nam, and his foot was profusely bleeding due to one of Nam's kicks landing in between the toes of his leading foot. He pulled through the 1 and a half minutes left of the final match, sealing his place on top of the podium in front of his parents, relatives and home crowd. The final strike of the gong cued a rapturous cheer from the crowd as Alfian made a beeline to his coach to give him an emotional bear hug.
The rest of that night became history.
Read on to find out what Alfian has up his sleeves as he journeys to the 29th SEA Games in KL!
Click to find out two ways you can show your support for Alfian AND stand a chance to witness the sporting action LIVE in the spectator stands!