EXPONENT Mohd Taqiyuddin Hamid-Sazzlan Yuga had to go through some anxious moments before they stepped up to deliver the first gold medal for Malaysia in the pencak silat competition.
Singaporean siblings Mohd Hazim Mohd Zaque-Mohd Haziq Mohd Zaque, who finished their routine in the men’s ganda final, earned 9.905 points and thought that was good enough for the gold.
The Zaque siblings immediately wrapped their national flag around their shoulders and started celebrating but had to accept defeat to the Malaysian pair.
Taqiyuddin-Sazzlan put up an acrobatic display of power and grace to get the gold with 9.950 points.
The pressure was certainly on the Malaysian pair to defend the gold they won in the 2019 Manila Games and they did not disappoint.
It is the third straight SEA Games gold medal for the 29-year-old Taqiyuddin in the men’s ganda event.
At the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games, he won it with Rosli Sharif but was paired off with Sazzlan where they went on to become the world champions in 2018 before winning the gold at the Philippines Games.
“The pressure was greater for us in the semi-finals yesterday (on Tuesday) as we faced the hosts Vietnam,” admitted Taqiyuddin.
“We managed to beat them and we knew there was a very good chance to win the gold as long as we finished off our routine without any big errors.
“The diving team had started well by winning golds and we are happy to keep the momentum going for Malaysia,” said Taqiyuddin.
Sazzlan was pleased to become a gold medallist again in his second SEA Games outing.
“There was still pressure to perform as we came here as the defending champions,” said Sazzlan.
“I have to thank my partner for always encouraging me to stay relaxed from the preliminary rounds until the final.
“It’s never easy to win when your event is at the start of the Games.
“It is a good boost to us as our next mission is to do well at the World Pencak Silat Championships in Kuala Lumpur in July,” said Sazzlan, who is from Sabah.
Men’s ganda: 1. Mohd Taqiyuddin Hamid-Sazzlan Yuga (Mas), 2. Mohd Hazim Mohd Zaque-Mohd Haziq Mohd Zaque (Sin), 3. Duc Danh Tran-Hong Que Le (Vie) and Abdul Karim Yusoh-Khairulmahadi Yusoh (Tha).