15 November 2011

Silat hang on to three-gold target, after duo reach last four

JAKARTA - Singapore's pencak silat team captain Shakir Juanda and Saifullah Julaimi gave the squad's sagging spirits a lift after winning their respective quarter-final bouts in the 'I' and 'E' classes yesterday.

The team had a shaky start to the competition with losses in the previous two days, but with the pair advancing and the artistic competition scheduled to start today, the team have not lost hope of meeting their three-gold target.

Things had looked gloomy in the team's quarter-final clashes in the morning, with veteran Saiedah Said ('C' Class) falling to Thailand's Jutarat Noytapa and Nur Zulaikha Zakaria ('D' Class) losing out to Mariati of Indonesia.

But with at least two medals now assured - the losing semi-finalists will share the bronze - team manager Sheik Alau'ddin feels it will spur the team on to do well.

"We hope that Saiedah's loss gives the newcomers a stronger desire to win for Singapore," he told Today.

"Our hopes are now pinned on Saifullah and Shakir."

For Saiedah, it was not how she had expected to mark her fifth and final SEA Games campaign.

Said the 26-year-old: "My target was to qualify for the final for my last shot at SEA Games gold, and this was not the best way for me to end my career."

"Morale was a bit low after the first two days of losses, but our spirit remains strong," added Saiedah, who has two Games bronze medals to her name.

Assistant team manager Sa'adiah Sanuse was rather happy with the whole team's performance so far and feels the artistic competition could possibly give them a further boost to meet their three-gold target.

"Saifullah and Shakir have lifted hopes, and by the end of (today) we'll know if we will be on track for our target," she said.

As for Saiedah, it is the end of her fighting career, but she wants to continue contributing to silat.

She said: "I have dedicated my life to silat and will continue to do so, now focusing on being a coach with the Singapore Silat Federation."

Sourced from http://www.todayonline.com/Sports/EDC111115-0000081/Silat-hang-on-to-three-gold-target,-after-duo-reach-last-four

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