HANOI: National silat champion Mohd Al-Jufferi Jamari led three other Malaysians into the semi-finals of the tanding (combat) event at the 31st SEA Games here today.

Three-time world champion Mohd Al-Jufferi advanced in men’s F class (70-75kg) after defeating Indonesia Iqbal Candra Pratama in the quarter-finals at the Bac Tu Liem Gymnasium.

However, Mohd Al-Jufferi, a four-time SEA Games gold medallist who is making his debut in the 70-75kg category, had to overcome fierce resistance until the very end of the bout.

There was added drama when the 30-year-old exponent suffered a right shoulder injury during the second round, keeping the national camp on edge, before he finally carved out a 53-51 victory to reach the semi-finals.

Previously, Mohd Al-Jufferi had dominated the E class (65-70kg) when he won gold in the 2011 edition in Indonesia, Myanmar (2013), Singapore (2015) and Kuala Lumpur (2017). He skipped the 2019 edition in the Philippines.

The other three national exponents who qualified for the semi-finals were Muhammad Khairi Adib Azhar in men’s B class (50-55kg), Mohamad Hazim Amzad in men’s C class (55-60kg) and Ahmad Atif Irshad Ahmad Zahidi in men’s D class (60-65kg).

In the quarter-finals, Muhammad Khairi defeated Bo Thamma Vongsa of Laos 68-25, Mohamad Hazim downed Thailand’s Phiraphon Mittahasan 51-49 while Ahmad Atif Irshad advanced with a 5-1 score when his opponent Mark James Lacao was disqualified at the start of their bout.

The jury made the decision after they found the Filipino’s action in punching Ahmad Atif Irshad in the face, thus rendering him unable to continue with the fight, as being against the rules.

Meanwhile, Malaysian coach Mazlan Shaari was satisfied with the performance of his exponents, who seem to be coming to grips with the stipulated new techniques following the full implementation of new rules in silat tanding at the SEA Games this time.

He hoped the national exponents would carry the momentum into the semi-finals on Sunday, adding that the injuries suffered by Mohd Al-Jufferi and Ahmad Atif Irshad were not serious and the two should be able to continue with their mission in Hanoi. — Bernama