SINGAPORE - He won Singapore's first sambo gold medal at the SEA Games after making an 11th hour switch ahead of the 2019 edition in the Philippines, but Nazri Sutari's heart always remained with kickboxing.
With sambo not featuring at the upcoming edition of the Games - kickboxing will - the 30-year-old decided the time was right for a return. He returned to kickboxing training earlier this year after a major knee injury, with an eye on making the cut for Hanoi.
Now, he has been given a boost off the mat.
Already holding appointments in the Kickboxing Federation of Singapore (KFS) as technical director (since August 2020) and national coach (since May 2019), Nazri is set to play an even bigger role in the sport after he was among the 15 individuals selected by kickboxing's world governing body Wako to be in its inaugural GameChanger (WGC) programme.
The World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (Wako) described the programme as a sports leadership and management programme it hopes will educate and develop future leaders in the sport, and opened applications to national athletes aged 30 or younger.
Nazri is one of just two Asians selected, with the other being a candidate from Jordan. Eleven hail from European nations, and two others hail from Argentina and Mexico.
All 15 will undergo a one-year programme which comprises virtual and physical sessions, before an examination and certificate ceremony at the International Olympic Council headquarters in Lausanne, which will likely take place in the summer of 2022.
Nazri told The Straits Times: "I accept I will not be an athlete (forever) so I want to give back to the sport what it has given me, and more.
"By taking part in the WGC programme, I hope I get the skills I need to raise the profile of the local kickboxing - and local combat sports - scene to the next level.
"I don't know exactly what to expect, but I'm sure I will learn and pick up a lot of new skills which will make me a better martial artist."
Wako president Roy Baker said the organisation selected Nazri because he "embodies the values of Wako, has significant achievements in the context of combat sports in Singapore and demonstrates exemplary leadership skills through serving KFS in his various appointments".
Espen Lund, the Wako vice-president who is spearheading the WGC programme, added: "The vision of the programme is to develop the next generation of leaders of our sport and to create a positive impact in the kickboxing community worldwide.
"I strongly believe that Nazri is the right person to make that positive impact in Singapore and build the next generation of leaders and kickboxers."
KFS president Jason Lim backed Nazri to ace the challenge.
"He is someone who puts his heart into everything he does. I am sure he will do the same for the WGC programme," said Lim.
"There will be a lot of work, virtual and physical meetings to attend and projects to do. Balancing all of this on top of his appointments in KFS combined with his athlete career aspirations will not be easy, but I believe Nazri is up for the challenge."
SINGAPORE - Two Singaporean sports officials had extra reason to celebrate over the festive period, after they were appointed into key roles at world governing bodies for their respective sports earlier in the week.
Jason Lim was named on the development committee of the World Association of Kickboxing Organisations (Wako) while Koh Koon Teck was appointed chairman of the International Bowling Federation's (IBF) global coach education pathway.
Both are serving their roles on initial two-year terms.
For Kickboxing Federation of Singapore (KFS) president Lim, 48, his global appointment came on the back of a kickboxing programme he had started in 2017 for People with Parkinson's (PwPs) here to help them slow the onset of the nervous system disorder and achieve a better quality of life.
He is now part of a 10-strong Wako committee focused on utilising kickboxing to spearhead global developmental projects with social inclusion, through programmes such as the one Lim introduced here which has since reached over 100 PwPs.
The director of kickboxing fitness centre Active Red, said: "Wako took notice of what we did, and since they became a part of the Olympic movement (as a provisional member in 2018), there has been a move toward using the sport to reach out to the community, particularly the underprivileged."
WAKO President Roy Baker noted in a media statement: "(Lim) has done a tremendous amount of work and created socially-inclusive projects which touched many lives in different positive ways. This appointment is our affirmation towards his work and we strongly believe that his insights will be highly beneficial in our future projects within his areas of speciality."
KFS and Wako are working together to organise the first Asian Wako conference, which is tentatively scheduled to be hosted here in June with about 120 overseas delegates.
SINGAPORE — A new $100,000 fund will be launched to support athletes who represent Singapore in international competitions, but do not currently receive campaign funding.
Made possible through the E. W. Barker Endowment, Temasek Foundation will contribute $100,000 annually towards the “Temasek Foundation Inspire Fund for Athletes”.
This fund will be jointly administered by SportSG and National Youth Sports (NYSI), which will initiate a twice-yearly Grant Call for applications by athletes who have qualified for international competitions, and who wish to receive campaign funding for their competitions. A panel will decide on the recipients of the grant.
Kickboxing Federation of Singapore (KFS) recognised as National Sports Association (NSA) by Sport Singapore
Sport Singapore officially granted the status to Kickboxing Federation of Singapore after years of hard work
A great accumulation of hard work, building up the sport since 2018 by Singapore Kickboxing pioneer and President of Kickboxing Federation of Singapore (KFS), Mr Jason Lim.
Kickboxing is a modern contact fighting sport created on the basis of many traditional martial arts and is currently seeing an increased popularity globally.
Since WAKO (World Association of Kickboxing Organizations) was granted provisional status by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) on 30 November 2018, KFS has taken significant steps to spearhead more Kickboxing activities in Singapore.
KFS has organised the Singapore Kickboxing Championships 2019 and sent athletes to the WAKO World Kickboxing Championships 2019. The team has set their sights on giving back more to the community and creating more avenues for competition in 2020 and beyond.
Mr Jason Lim shares, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sport Singapore and SNOC (Singapore National Olympic Council) for this monumental achievement. Their advice and support have been extremely invaluable in building our Federation to what it is today.”
“We’re engaging the community at various levels. Youth, adults, seniors and even the special population. Kickboxing truly is a sport that does not discriminate but empowers all.”
Official recognition letter from Mr Todd Vladich, Director (National Sports Association Capability Development) at Sport Singapore
Article by: Khoo Bee Khim
Nazri Sutari takes nicknames in his stride. “Back in school, my friends used to call me Bats,” laughed the 29-year-old. And no, he wasn’t named after Batman. That moniker came from the Malay word “babat” used colloquially to mean fat.
The national kickboxing champion is so used to nicknames that he's even adopted one for competitions: Pork Chop.
“It came from a muay thai orientation camp in polytechnic,” he said. “We were in the lecture hall when my teammate from across the hall randomly shouted, ‘eh, pork chop!’ I was the only one who turned around and because I responded, the name stuck. I kinda like it since I am always the fat kid.”
When fat people get bullied, they can either get angry, or succumb and suck it up. I decided to get ‘angry’ and use the fire in me to prove that I can do what the others could.