No final joy for Silat exponents
Singapore's exponents come up short in gold-medal race
As Singapore's SEA Games artistic men's ganda (doubles) pair of Sheik Ferdous Sheik Alau'ddin and Shakir Juanda made their way back to their teammates after the medal ceremony at the Singapore Expo last night, all they said was, "Sorry, guys.".
The two silat exponents had a shiny new medal hanging from their necks, but bronze was not the colour they wanted.
Seven nations qualified for the final, with the hosts sitting pretty as the second highest ranked duo.
Sheik Ferdous and Shakir seemed to have the gold in their control when they chalked up 567 points, but the Indonesia and Vietnamese pairs eventually pulled ahead, winning gold and silver with 575 and 574 points, respectively.
Speaking to The New Paper later, a disappointed Shakir said: "It's a blow (to not win gold), I can tell you that.
"I wouldn't say that we were favourites, but we believed in ourselves and felt we could do it.
"But it wasn't to be."
The pair delivered a near-flawless routine in front of a roaring home crowd as their teammates willed them on.
Among those screaming themselves hoarse was Nur Shafiqa Sheik Alau'ddin, who had just sealed the silver medal in the women's regu (team) final.
Shafiqa, daughter of Sheik Alau'ddin, the former Singapore world champion and current chief executive officer of the Singapore Silat Federation, was buzzing from her performance.
"I think my team and I achieved much more than what we originally set out to achieve," said the 21-year-old.
"We are really satisfied, and I have to say that every one of us gave our best. I couldn't be happier.
"This is a step in the right direction for us."
Echoing that sentiment was Iqbal Abdul Rahman.
The 21-year-old won bronze in the men's tunggal (singles) event.
"I think what I did today was one of my best performances," he said.
"Although I could only get a bronze, I honestly think nothing went wrong. I know that I was Singapore's best hope for gold today, but the Vietnamese and Indonesian guys (Hoang Quang Trung and Sugianto Sugianto, who finished first and second respectively) were just better than me.
"It went smoothly for me, but luck was just against me," he added.
"If I am disappointed, it's only because I couldn't win gold.
"Other than that, I'm really satisfied with how I did."