In case you missed it, Malaysia’s own Irfan Shamsuddin just scored gold in the men’s discus throw at the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi. This is no small feat — he has defended his title as Southeast Asia’s king of discus throw for the fifth consecutive time.
But ahead of this major win at the SEA Games, PrestigeOnline Malaysia had the opportunity to get in touch with the man himself to talk about his preparation ahead of the Games. While one may think that Irfan has taken some downtime due to the COVID-19 outbreak, he has, in reality, been keeping himself busy. “Every summer, I’m based in Europe and the pandemic did not affect my competition. I’ve still competed every year since the pandemic,” says the sportsman.
View this post on Instagram
Before he went to Vietnam, he participated in the Singapore Open 2022, where he won the gold in the men’s discus throw event. With a win like that to steady himself as he walks into the MyDinh Stadium in Hanoi, it comes as no surprise that this titan was unshaken at the pitch and brought home his title as the best Southeast Asian discus thrower.
That day, he bested Thailand’s Kiapradip Srisai who won silver, and the Philippines’ William Morrison III bagged a bronze. Irfan threw the winning distance, 58.26m.
Discus thrower Irfan Shamsuddin speaks of his preparation ahead of the SEA Games in Hanoi
When the pandemic hit back in 2020, I was given the approval by the Institute Sports Center to borrow gym equipment for three (3) months. Thereafter, I travelled to Europe for a competition. When I was back in Malaysia, I trained in the national training centre to keep up with my fitness. Having the right fitness gear from Under Armour was also helpful as it kept me going during my training process.
As an Under Armour Ambassador, I am motivated by the motto “The Only Way Is Through” because I believe that whatever lies ahead, I’ve got to stay the course to come out better, faster and stronger on the other side.
My coach and I have our very own target to break my SEA games record. And I hope that I can achieve it.
Vaccination is not an issue especially for me. However, the lockdown that took place in Malaysia did affect my performance as it limited my training experience. I believe this was the same for many athletes out there. Due to the unprecedented lockdowns, most of the facilities were shut, as many Malaysians were restricted from going out and about to prevent the spread of the virus and many competitions that I was involved in were cancelled or postponed.
As we are in an endemic phase, it appears that everything is back to normal and that is good for many of us including me as an athlete. If there was one thing I was grateful for during the recent Singapore Open 2022, it is that I am able to go out and compete and never take anything I have for granted – because I am absolutely glad to compete again especially in Southeast Asia.
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 at athletes to recover before the big game which can be a challenge but I am absolutely grateful for Under Armour for providing me with the scientifically engineered UA Recover gears.
I do believe that there will be many unprecedented challenges along the way, which I’ve not accounted for and this is something I believe all of us faced whether we are athletes or part of our life – but I am fired with Under Armour’s motto, “The Only Way Is Through”, because I believe that I will be able to push myself beyond what I thought possible.
I hope that my fellow Malaysians will come together to not only support me but the entire team of athletes representing Malaysia in the Hanoi 2021 SEA games. I believe with the support, we will not feel alone and that support itself will act as a catalyst towards gaining better performances.
Featured and hero image: Under Armour