In case you missed it, Malaysia’s Irfan Shamsuddin just won gold in the men’s discus throw at the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi. It’s no small feat — he defended his title as Southeast Asia’s discus king for the fifth time in a row.
But before this major victory at the SEA Games, Prestige Online Malaysia had the opportunity to get in touch with the man himself to talk about his preparation before the Games. Although one might think that Irfan has taken some time off due to the COVID-19 outbreak, he has actually been busy. “Every summer I’m based in Europe and the pandemic hasn’t affected my competition. I’ve still competed every year since the pandemic,” says the sportsman.
Before heading to Vietnam, he competed at the 2022 Singapore Open, where he won gold in the men’s discus throw. With a win like that to steady him as he enters MyDinh Stadium in Hanoi, it’s no surprise this titan stayed steadfast on the pitch and won his title as Asia’s top discus thrower. from the South East.
That day he beat Thailand’s Kiapradip Srisai who won silver, and Filipino William Morrison III won bronze. Irfan threw the winning distance, 58.26m.
Discus thrower Irfan Shamsuddin talks about his preparation ahead of the SEA Games in Hanoi
How have you kept the competition ready during lockdown?
When the pandemic hit in 2020, I received approval from the Institute Sports Center to borrow gym equipment for three (3) months. Subsequently, I traveled to Europe for a competition. When I was back in Malaysia, I trained at the national training center to maintain my physical condition. Having the right fitness gear from Under Armor was also helpful as it kept me going during my training process.
As an Under Armor Ambassador, I am driven by the motto “The Only Way Is Through” because I believe that no matter what, I must stay the course to come out better, faster and stronger on the other side. .
You’ve had quite the gold streak – what’s your game plan this year to protect your title? Can we expect a new personal best at this year’s SEA Games?
My coach and I have our own goal of breaking my SEA games record. And I hope I can achieve that.
How has the pandemic impacted your preparation or changed your routine? Did the vaccine interfere with your progress in any way?
Vaccination is not a problem especially for me. However, the lockdown that took place in Malaysia affected my performance as it limited my training experience. I believe it was the same for many athletes. Due to the unprecedented closures, most facilities have been closed as many Malaysians have been unable to get out and about to prevent the spread of the virus and many competitions I have attended have been canceled or postponed.
What changes do you expect from your second post-lockdown international competition? Is there anything new you learned at the recent Singapore Open 2022 that might be a new factor to consider?
As we are in an endemic phase, it seems that everything is back to normal and that is good for many of us, including me as an athlete. If there’s one thing I was grateful for at the recent Singapore Open 2022, it’s that I’m able to go out and compete and never take everything I have for granted – because I’m absolutely thrilled to be competing again, especially in Southeast Asia.
What potential challenges do you foresee?
Due to the current situation, we are allowed to travel two (2) days before the competition. During this process it is absolutely important for us athletes to recover before the big game, which can be a challenge, but I am absolutely grateful to Under Armor for providing me with the scientifically designed UA Recover gear.
I believe there will be many unprecedented challenges along the way, which I have overlooked and it is something that I believe we have all encountered whether we are athletes or part of of our lives – but I’m fired with Under Armor’s motto, “The Only Way Is Through”, because I believe I’ll be able to push myself beyond what I thought possible.
What is your message to our readers and your fans?
I hope my fellow Malaysians will come together not only to support me but also for the entire team of athletes representing Malaysia at the 2021 Hanoi SEA Games. I believe that with the support we will not feel alone and that the support itself will act as a catalyst for better performance.
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