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Asian Games: A champion’s mentality boosts Sheik Farhan in the arena

02 August 2018
By Wong Jeng Teng

With two world titles and a SEA Games gold medal under his belt, TeamSG silat exponent Sheik Farhan is a champion with confidence.


He has been described as cool, calm, and at times even impassive. TeamSG silat exponent Sheik Farhan Bin Sheik Alau'ddin will not deny any of these labels, and when they were recounted to him, his immediate response was telling of his character.


farhan behind the scenes


“I am calm because there’s nothing to panic about,” he pointed out.


When asked if he was taught to maintain such composure, Farhan remarked: “I think I don’t usually show a lot of emotion, unless I’m with my family or really close friends. Maybe it’s just something that I bring into the arena.”


Before entering a bout, certain fighters may feel the need to show aggression, in order to intimidate their opponents. Farhan, on the other hand, feels there is no need to pretend.


“I don’t really think it’s important to show that you’re aggressive, because the difference in your facial expression isn’t going to make your punch harder or weaker,” said the two-time world champion.


“Silat is very similar to most sports, [in that] some people like to exaggerate, while others just want to do their job. I feel like it helps if you [just be] yourself because in that moment when you fight, you’re alone,” Farhan shared.


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Sheik Farhan (left) in action. Photo: Huang Xiaolong / SportSG


Despite how he looks, Farhan does feel scared or nervous at times, though he never lets these emotions get in the way of his performance. In fact, the calm and all-too-familiar expression is also his way of staying in control.


He shared: “Sometimes when I feel upset or a bit scared about something, I try to go back to my feeling of calmness and look like I don’t care about it. I think when you adjust your face, it does have a certain amount of [effect on] your mind.”


This strategy has helped the 20-year-old in the arena too, as his opponents are unable to read his thoughts or predict his next move.


“Even if you feel pain, it’s better not to show it. Your body language or expression can actually help your opponent. Like when you feel tired, it shows in your body language, and that sometimes plays a big part in the arena,” he explained.


“I think I’ve never really shown much emotions, even if I’m feeling panicky. I don’t even want to show it. I just want to make people think this is all part of my plan,” Farhan continued.


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Sheik Farhan took his first World Championship title in 2015 at only 17-years-old. Photo: Singapore Silat Federation


Everything certainly has been according to plan for Farhan, who was already making waves on the world stage at just 17 years of age, securing his first title at the 2015 Pencak Silat World Championships.


He went on to win his second consecutive world title in 2016, and the SEA Games gold medal in 2017, all in the same Class J (90-95kg) category.


“If you’re scared to lose, if you don’t go into a match thinking that you’re going to win, if you go into a competition thinking you cannot win gold, then why are you even there?” he questioned.


Trusting in himself, and going for gold


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2017 SEA Games gold medallist Sheik Farhan. Photo: Huang Xiaolong / SportSG


Farhan revealed that he aims for gold at every competition, with the upcoming Asian Games in Jakarta being no different, although he admitted that there would be some strong opposition.


“I don’t really think about which strong opponents I will be up against [at the Asian Games], because I don’t know if I will even meet him [during the competition]. But my teammates and I all know that all the best countries will be participating in the Asian Games," he shared.


On how he projects such confidence in his competition, Farhan expressed: “I feel like most of the time the simple way to do your best is just to trust your training, aim to always win, and just believe in yourself.”


Keep cheering Farhan on as he prepares for a strong showing at the upcoming Asian Games this 18 August to 2 September 2018. Stay up to date with the latest news by following us on the Team Singapore Facebook, Instagram and website!



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