Future in Muaythai
WHEN YOU MEET Shafik Rushidi for the first time, you would never expect this 12-year-old boy with the timid demeanour to be packed with a punch.
Shafik showed his mettle in the recent International Federation of Muaythai Amateur (IFMA) World Championships in Langkawi when he won a gold medal in the Junior Boys 42kg category against Rebihi Jamal, 11, from Denmark.
Currently studying at SK Tabuan, Kuching, he first became interested in Muaythai when he was 4 years old, after watching Ong Bak.
“Then I started to get involved in Muaythai at the age of 10, while I was in Primary 4,” he said when interviewed by The Borneo Post SEEDS at the Sarawak Youth and Sports Complex on May 17.
According to Shafik’s mother, Norrozida Turkey, 42, Shafik was determined to join muaythai when they went to watch a tournament held at tHe Spring Shopping Mall in 2012. Despite being down with the flu, he went to watch the game for two consecutive days.
From that moment onwards, Shafik became more interested and insisted his mother let him join the club, which his mother wholeheartedly supported knowing how passionate he was about it since he was much younger. Through some contacts, they would learn about the SS Fighters Club and be introduced to Team SS Fighters manager Sulaiman Salleh.
Shafik’s first muaythai tournament was in July 2012, two months after he first joined SS Fighters club. Despite all his passion, he lost his first tournament.
“From that loss, I told him that it should be a lesson and good experience for him. The initial loss is okay, because from there he can learn to improve himself to become a better fighter,” Norrozida added.
His second tournament eight months later in 2013 turned out to be Shafik’s first triumph.
Talking about the tournament in Langkawi, Shafik who was initially nervous about his final round with the fighter from Denmark saying that, “For me, I considered my opponent’s strengths which were the way he fought with his hands, his movements were quick and sharp. Unfortunately for him, his weakness was his blocking. When the game ended and I was announced as the winner, I jumped and felt extremely happy.”
Shafik is now pretty occupied with the sport, and he recounted how his training in Langkawi was quite intense, with two 3-hour sessions per day, one in the morning and the other in the evening.
Although she supports his passion in this combat sport wholeheartedly, it’s only natural for parents to be worried for their children. Norrozida tries to alleviate her worries by staying positive, knowing that the pain will go away.
“Everytime I ask my son when he gets cuts and bruises how he feels, he always answers, ‘It tastes like KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken)’. That’s just how he tries not to think about the pain and tries to focus more on his passion for muaythai. To be honest, I trust that his instructor will guide my son well and I am indeed very thankful for how he is now.
“If this is what he wishes to do in future, I am most willing to support him. It was never forced on him before but it has been his passion from childhood to now. Nevertheless, education always comes first and I want him to also excel in that as well,” Norrozida added.
Apart from muaythai, Shafik is also good in other sports, including badminton and table tennis, where he also represents his school in several competitions.
When asked about his idol in muaythai, he said that it would be Malaysian muaythai fighter ‘Golden Elbow’ Mohd Faizal Ramli. Faizal was one of the participants in AXN’s reality-based television series The Challenger Muay Thai, and he also won gold during the 27th Myanmar SEA Games in 2013.
Shafik hopes to represent Malaysia in muaythai when he grows older and also get the chance to compete in Sukma one day.
The IFMA tournament was held from May 1 to 10 at Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre (MIEC) in Langkawi and was organised by IFMA and MMA with the support of Youth and Sports Ministry, Tourism and Culture Ministry, Malaysian Convention and Exhbition Bureau (MyCEB) and Langkawi Development Authority.
Malaysia was represented by 47 muaythai fighters at the world amateur event, with Sarawak sending 6 exponents which included Shafik, Muhammad Haikal Zaidie, Mohd Syahmi Affif Sulaiman, Mohd Zairul Nazizan Zaidil, Ayu Arynafa’iza Azmi, and Christabella Vyonessa.
Despite the sport being relatively new in Sarawak, Sarawak exponents collected one gold (won by Shafik) 2 silvers (won by Muhammad Haikal Zaidi and Ayu Arynafa’iza Azmi) and 1 bronze (won by Mohd Syahmi Afiff Sulaiman).