KUALA LUMPUR: In just a month from now, Singapore’s Class I silat exponent Shakir Juanda will welcome another son into his life and become a father of two.
While silat is Shakir’s focus during the on-going 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia, his family's well-being back home is never far from his mind.
On the sidelines of the SEA Games silat competition on Friday (Aug 25), which saw Singapore win silver in the women's Artistic Doubles, the silat world champion opened up about balancing sports and being a proud dad.
“I think life will still somewhat be the same, as you need to know your priorities and have good time management,” he said. “During the day I will finish all my training and stuff and at night I have to spend more time with my family."
On how he manages to juggle being a family man and a world-level athlete, Shakir said he has to sacrifice some rest time to be there for his family, so that "they know they can count on me for support".
According to Shakir, it is the joys of parenthood which changes his perspective in life these days.
“Fatherhood can be quite difficult, as you have to wake up in the early mornings while you’re still physically tired after hard training, and still have to do my fatherly duties like bathing and changing nappies,” he said.“All this is a very amazing experience that you can’t really describe and put in words."
Shakir added: "It’s your responsibility, you know you have to do it but at the same time, you know you’ll miss it when your kid grows up. It’s something all fathers must experience to know first-hand."
It was the thought of fighting for his family which spurred Shakir to another level and seal the win at the 2016 World Championship.
“During the bouts itself, it’s only you and your opponent. You’re always thinking positively about yourself, so that you won’t have a breakdown in the ring,” he said.
“But in the end, you really need that extra power within you - and that’s when my family comes to my mind, together with all the training I’ve done.”
He added: “At that moment, it all comes together in a flashback and it gives me a second wind. When you’re really tired and sometimes losing, you need that extra juice and so that’s where they come in to the picture, in my mind, to motivate me to success."
Recalling what went through his mind during the world championship final, Shakir said: “I think it was when I had a minute left and I was in my corner.
"One of my coaches came in, and he advised me not on tactics, but rather on emotions. He told me: ‘Think of your family, think of your son!’”
“The emotional part of me then took over, and it brought me the extra edge I needed to win my fight and get the world title.”
BANKING ON VAST EXPERIENCE
Sitting in the stands with the crowd, intently watching the on-going competition at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre’s (KLCC) Hall 2 on Friday, the Class I world champion was a picture of full concentration.
Already “past the stage where the crowd can be daunting”, Shakir said that he will be ready to take on Saturday’s quarter-final, no matter who his opponent will be.
“I’m definitely going for the gold, I still have to keep my focus and face my opponents head-on.
"I have a few days of competition, so I have to do my warm-ups and do my visualisation and look at how to counter my opponents," he said. “I have to somehow relax my mind and keep focus."
Despite having to juggle fatherhood with training time, the 29-year-old said 2017 may not be his last SEA Games.
“I’m not the one to say if this will be my last SEA Games or not; we’ll see,” he said. “For me, silat is my life and I’ve been in the sport half my life already. So, if the federation still needs me and if I think that I’m still capable of bringing back medals for Singapore, then why not stay on?”