DESPITE their young age, brothers Muhammad Afiq Danial Firdaus and Muhammad Danish Aizad Firdaus have started making their presence felt in the junior wushu scene in Penang.
While it is not common to see athletes from other races excel in this Chinese-dominated sport, Afiq Danial and Danish Aizad’s exploits in the sport are even rare because both do not study in vernacular schools.
The 13-year-old Afiq Danial is a Form One student at Bukit Mertajam High School while his younger brother Danish Aizad, 11, is a Year Five pupil at SK Stowell.
The siblings justified their status as Penang state wushu team trainees by winning gold medals at the recent Penang Schools Sports Council (MSSPP) Championships 2015 at the Penang Sports Council (MSNPP) hall in Batu Uban.
Afiq Danial, competing in the boys’ Under-15 category, won a gold medal in the qiangshu and a silver in the changquan events. Danish Aizad went one step better by emerging champion in both the boys’ Under-12 category daoshu and changquan events.
An exponent is only allowed to enter a maximum of two individual events in the MSSPP meet.
“I did not force my boys to take up wushu but they did it out of their own passion and interest. I practised wushu when I was younger but I am surprised that my boys have also picked it up as well,” said their father Mohd Firdaus Chua Abdullah.
“Both of them are studying in national schools which do not have wushu programmes, so I had to send them for training elsewhere. Now, they are both training at the MSNPP hall since being integrated into the state training programme three years ago,” added the father, who is a businessman.
While Afiq Danial is fully focused on developing his wushu skills to become a future national exponent, Danish Aizad has proven to be a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to sports.
The 11-year-old, a former national wushu Under-Nine category champion in changquan, is also a talented sprinter and jumper.
“Danish Aizad is very energetic and is also good in athletics, football, badminton and a few other sports. He represented his school in long jump and running at the recent Penang Schools Athletics meet at the City Stadium. He also won the high jump gold medal during his school’s sports day this year.
“When his teacher enquired about drafting him into the school football team, I had to put my foot down and say no.
“He is already fully occupied with his wushu and athletics commitments and also needs to find time for his studies,” said Firdaus.
Firdaus and his wife Zanariah Dahlan, who live in Bukit Mertajam, take turns to send and fetch their sons from training sessions on the island on almost a daily basis.
Added Firdaus: “My wife and I are willing to sacrifice our time every day to send our boys to training because we share the same ambition that our children can become future stars for the country.”
Penang wushu coach Chong Min Fei, who trains Afiq Danial and Danish Aizad, feels the siblings have a bright future in the sport.
“Both of them are talented and have the right attitude to go far in wushu.
“I will not be surprised if one or even both of them go on to win international accolades in the future.
“But the important factor is for both to continue their present learning curve and follow the right training programme when they get a bit older.
“They must also maintain their discipline and the hunger to improve at all times if they are to succeed,” said Chong.