PASIR GUDANG, March 15 (Bernama) -- The staging of the Singapore-Johor-Riau (Sijori) silat championship here has received the thumbs up from the sport's activists in the Malay archipelago.
This was echoed by the respective team leaders for Riau Islands and Pulau Karimum, Hardi Soeroso and Said Fauzul, along with the championship's organising secretariat head Ismail Ahmad.
They were unison in acknowledging that only through such events, the younger generation can really polish their skills in the traditional form of silat apart from creating an impact in the international sports arena.
"There are not many international silat tournaments being held internationally, not even in our own countries," he told Bernama here today.
Hardi said the Sijori meet would be a greater silat stage if it was expanded to include more competitors from other Asia and European countries instead of being a three-nation Asean championship.
Hardi, who is one of the founder for the Sijori meet, said despite being a Malay-based martial art, silat had the features which appealed to exponents from outside the region.
Ismail said the idea to stage the Sijori championship came after he led a Johor contingent to a silat tournament in Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia three years ago.
"I had an idea where silat exponents in the archipelago can gather at an event and this was supported by the Singapore silat association which was keen to participate," he said.
Discussions and planning followed and this paved the way for the birth of the first edition of the Sijori silat triangular in Tanjung Pinang last year.
The second edition, which began March 13 and ends Sunday, is being held here. It drew the participation of 175 exponents from Johor, Riau Islands and Singapore.
Meanwhile Johor Sports Council Director Abdul Razak Hassan, in his speech when opening the championship, said many young and fresh talents would be unearthed through the Sijori meet.
It was hoped that these talents would progress to the higher stages in the world silat scene, he said.
"This championship is crucial as we lack regional silat championships, hence we hold this tournament not only to bridge this gap but also to forge closer ties among the regional silat bodies," he said.
Abdul Razak said to ensure that only fresh talents compete in the championship, the age of competitors were restricted to between 17 and 23.
"We are taking the initiative (to hold the Sijori meet) not only because of our turn to stage it but it is also part of the activity for the Visit Johor Year 2003," he said.
"The tremendous success of the first championship in Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia last year has infused a huge dose of confidence for us to hold the event here," said Abdul Razak.
The second edition of the Sijori meet also saw action of Indonesian exponents from Pekan Baru and Karimum apart from those from Riau and Tanjung Pinang.
The Singapore Silat Federation sent a team while Johor had its A and B squads here bringing the number of competing exponents to 175. The championship comprises the "Silat Seni" and "Silat Tanding" categories .
Written by ISMAIL ABDULLAH
Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-22739112_ITM