Official Website of Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council
Pencak silat athlete aims high
Saturday, August 25, 2018
National pencak silat athlete Norleyermah binti Haji Raya (4th L) with her national teammates and coaches in a group photo at the Brunei International Airport prior to leaving for the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia. – FADHIL YUNUS

BRUNEI Darussalam’s national pencak silat athlete Norleyermah binti Haji Raya returned to the scene evoking wonderful memories in her stellar career at the 18th Asian Games, seven years after claiming bronze in the team artistic event at the 2011 SEA Games in Jakarta.

The national athlete is setting her sights for a repeat of the success in the women’s artistic singles event at the Padepokan Pencak Silat Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) today.

Norleyermah first took up the sport in 2000 when she was around 13 or 14 years and revealed that the artistic singles event was not her main practice in pencak silat, having made the switch from tanding during the formative years of her colourful career.

“I was not involved in the artistic singles because I was a fighter before. Due to my physical stature, it is natural to move from tanding and the coaches saw that I have talent in the artistic event,” said Norleyermah in an interview with the media recently.

Norleyermah’s development in the sport saw her being absorbed into the Brunei-Muara Pencak Silat Scheme and the coaches advised her to take up the artistic event.

“After that, the first time they saw me in the artistic event, I caught up with everything they asked me to do. In 2003 or 2004, they put me in the triple team because they needed people to replace.”

Norleyermah was considered as one for the future at that time while her sister Norleydiana binti Haji Raya is also a gold medallist in the 2003 SEA Games in Hanoi.

“At that time, we trained by looking at videos for two weeks, especially when it came to memorising the moves. We tried to replicate what we watched at home. We needed to learn quickly and I learnt from there. My sister helped me as well which made me better.”

In 2007, Norleyermah was installed into the team after one of the athletes was withdrawn after being enrolled as a recruit just two weeks before an event in Singapore.

“They wanted me to replace the athlete. I had to learn within two weeks to go before the competition. They knew that I could learn faster than everyone so they offered the role to me.

“During that two weeks, I learnt the movement and I went to Singapore where I was awarded bronze and was selected for the World Championships in Pahang,” she added.

In 2012, Norleyermah was placed fourth in the World Championships in the artistic singles in Chiang Rai but won bronze with her artistic triples team.

Norleyermah was selected in a singles event in the SEA Games in Myanmar where she finished fourth in 2013 and also fourth again in the World Championships in Bali.

The 31-year-old said that a number of countries in the region are catching up, including Thailand and the Philippines, adding that she could not tell her chances as there are a lot of good competitors in the field.

“They can do what we do which was unlike before. Before this, these countries were not strong but now they are getting better. Their standard has gone up and even India has brought athletes in the singles event,” said Norleyermah.

“That means there is a lot of people from outside who learn pencak silat,” she added.

“It will be tough since it (the Asian Games) is bigger than the SEA Games. I hope that I have a smoother route to go to the final.”

Pencak silat has been put on the map for the first time at the Asian Games after being endorsed by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).

Asked about her thoughts of being selected to represent the country, she replied, “Alhamdulillah, I was happy especially when it is the first time that pencak silat has been included at the Asian Games.

“Before this, we have participated in the Beach Games, but now it is the most important game for us. I am really nervous as the pressure is on right now but hopefully I can do my best,” she added.

Norleyermah clinched silver in the Road to Asian Games back in February, a mock event to the real competition and she said that her accomplishment there partially helped her in terms of being familiar with the atmosphere which she thinks should be similar to the Asian Games.

The experienced national exponent, who made her mark in the 2007 SEA Games, is one the country’s most decorated athletes having bagged silver twice and bronze three times in the team’s event.

Meanwhile, Norleyermah’s pencak silat teammates Anisah Najihah binti Abdullah, Nur Azimatunnaemah Simat and Qistina Athirah binti Zainal will take part in the team event.

Courtesy from Borneo Bulletin