The 17th World Pencak Silat Championships took place in Denpasar, Bali in December 2016, with 5 British fighters representing the UK! The PSF UK team was one of 38 teams taking part from across the world in the Sports (Tanding) & Artistic (Seni) categories.
For the first time, a UK Wasit Juri was selected for duty at a World Championships, - Arif Kokkoz, International Wasit Juri Level II - performed as both Wasit & Juri throughout the Championships.
The Championships began with a fantastic Opening Ceremony, attended by the President of PERSILAT, Mr Prabowo Subianto, Indonesia's Minister of Sports & Youth Affairs, Mr Imam Nahrawi & also the Deputy Governor of Bali, I Ketut Sudikerta, who officially opened the Championships. Other local dignitaries & the Presidents of the National Pencak Silat Federations taking part also attended.
Fahim Ahmed was the first UK fighter to compete. In his first World Championships, Fahim was up against a much more experienced competitor from Malaysia in Male class D, & did not get through to the next round.
That afternoon, British pesilat Arash Adami faced Felix Fernando of The Netherlands in Male class I. Arash made a promising start, winning the first of the 3 rounds, but eventually lost to his opponent.
The following day, the PSF UK's Racan Osman was pitched against Eckhan Javarov in Male class C. British hopes were pinned on Racan, who had recently won Silver for the UK at the Dutch Open Championships, but it was a tough match, & Racan did not get through to the next round, while his opponent went on to win the Silver medal.
Later that day, in the first round in Male Open class, the UK's Samir Ghanim faced Loic Latyr Sar of Senegal. Samir beat his opponent with a decisive 5 flags to 0, to go on to the Semi-Final.
On the 3rd day of competitions, the UK's Djibril Aoudou was fighting in Male Class J. Djibril had won Gold at the 2016 Dutch Open, but was now facing an experienced professional fighter from Indonesia, & eventually lost the match.
On the afternoon of the next day, Samir was pitched against Roland Goedhart of The Netherlands. Already an experienced competitor, & current European Champion, Samir had won Silver at the previous World Championships. The points looked very close, but Roland managed to take Samir down twice in the last round, building on his points, & was declared the winner, 3 flags to 2, so that Samir was the winner of a Bronze medal, while Roland went on to the Finals.
The last day of competitions was attended by His Excellency, Bapak Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia, & featured exhibition fights, in front of a packed stadium. The UK's Arif Kokkoz was one of the Juri scoring the Finals, a first for UK match officials.
After the medal ceremonies, a spectacular Closing Ceremony was held, including demonstrations of traditional Silat from across Indonesia.
In his closing speech, Mr Prabowo Subianto declared that these Championships had been the largest yet, with 38 countries taking part, & emphasised that Pencak Silat was a way to promote friendship & harmony between all peoples & religions.
Before closing the Championships, His Excellency Bapak Joko Widodo congratulated all the competitors & revealed that Silat will be an exhibition sport in the 2020 Olympic Games, adding that it was indeed time for Pencak Silat to be acknowledged on the international stage.
Organisers & Hosts, 17th World Pencak Silat Championships:
Sanctioned by International Pencak Silat Federation (PERSILAT)