World association

‘Heartbreaking’ SEA Games lose ‘speed bump’, but kickboxer Nazri Sutari is determined to become the best in the world

SINGAPORE: After losing 1-2 to Cambodian Chhoeung Lvay in the quarter-finals of the men’s -71kg event on Monday (May 9th), kickboxer Nazri Sutari signaled to reporters that he needed a moment.

There was disappointment, anger and a sense of injustice. The pain of defeat stung Nazri, and the manner of it even more.

While Nazri admittedly took a while to adjust in the first round of the fight, the Singaporean felt he did well enough in the next two rounds to win the match.

But the victory was awarded to the Cambodian instead.

“In the second round I found my rhythm, I was outclassing it, clearly. But I was surprised that in the third round my coach said I was losing,” Nazri explained.

“(As athletes)…we do our part to prepare, we sacrifice a lot just for this moment. And to have that taken away from us…it’s actually heartbreaking and disappointing.”

This is Nazri’s second appearance at the SEA Games. In the 2019 edition, he won the country’s first gold medal in the martial art of sambo.

NOT THE ‘END OF THE ROAD’

A gifted athlete, Nazri has competed in many sports. He started as a fencer and later represented the country in several combat sports disciplines.

But Nazri has always been passionate about kickboxing. His goal is to one day become Singapore’s first world champion in the sport.

And that meant sacrificing time, fundraising and investing a lot of effort to pursue his dream.

Earlier this year, he picked up two medals at the Serbia Open – silver (men’s under 74kg) and bronze (under 69kg). These are the first medals won by a Singaporean in an encounter sanctioned by the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (Wako).

Prior to the SEA Games, Nazri had also trained in Serbia as part of the preparations.

But Nazri isn’t letting Monday’s loss deter him. After all, the next kickboxing world championships are only a year away.

And his time will come, said Nazri.

“It’s not the end of the road. Like what I said a few months ago, my ultimate goal is always the world champion. It’s a speed bump…and it’s something that I can’t control,” Nazri said.

“If it’s meant to be mine, it’ll be mine.”