After years of heartbreak, Singapore's Nurul Suhaila finally wins silat gold
HANOI - After being forced to settle for the bronze medal at three consecutive SEA Games, pencak silat exponent Nurul Suhaila finally claimed the top prize on Monday (May 16).
The 27-year-old beat Malaysia's Siti Shazwana Ajak 30-22 in the women's Class E (65-70kg) tanding final to get the Republic's exponents off to the perfect start on the final day of silat action in Hanoi.
Nurul, who was in tears after her match, said: "So many years of doubting myself, getting the bronze medal three times was very hard for me.
"I spend a lot of time away from my family (for silat), so this time I wanted to make my parents proud and prove to them that the time away is worth it, it’s for me to grow and for me to be the best athlete I can be. So I hope my parents are proud of me."
The gold medal was "years in the making… You can imagine the feeling of getting the same standing for six years," she added.
While the Covid-19 disrupted plans, she used her time wisely. She noted: "The pandemic gave me a lot to think about. I had a long break without (competing) so it felt like I got released from the cage. The break gave me a lot of growth and the peace I needed to be a different person.
"But I felt the difference when I entered the arena this year. I felt like a different fighter. More composed.
"I was also really focused on listening to my coaches because I trust them a lot and I’m so happy I could bring back the gold for them."
Four other Singaporeans - Hazim Yusli (men's Class C), Abdul Raazaq Abdul Rashid (men's Class F), Sheik Ferdous (men's Class G) and Sheik Farhan (men's class J) - are also vying for gold in their respective finals at the Bac Tu Liem Sports Hall in the Vietnamese capital on Monday.