National discus thrower Irfan Shamsuddin shares his thoughts about being qualified for the Commonwealth Games and how he stays entirely focused on the goal.
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With a five-time SEA Games gold medalist title, Irfan Shamsuddin managed a throw of 58.26 metres to secure his fifth straight discus crown at the My Dinh National Stadium during this year’s SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam—proving that he is a top contender in Malaysian athletics. Unbeatable and unstoppable, the 26-year-old athlete is the image of determination. Going into the sport with a winning streak is an accomplishment that has earned him the title ‘King of Discus’.
With more victories to add to his name after being qualified for the Commonwealth Games, Irfan shares his thoughts on being one of the 107 athletes participating and how he is preparing for the upcoming game.
Congratulations on qualifying for the Commonwealth Games, Irfan! First off, what are your thoughts on being one of the athletes chosen to compete in Birmingham this year?
I am extremely thankful and honoured to be able to compete and represent Malaysia in this year’s Commonwealth Games, since it’s been two long years of not being able to compete internationally due to COVID-19. I’ve been training really hard for the games and the thought of being there is exciting enough already! I’m really looking forward to it.
After dominating at the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, what’s your game plan for the Commonwealth Games?
Firstly, I want to achieve my goal of throwing past 60 metres. Given that my second personal best record is 61.61m, I want to do better in order to break my personal record during this Commonwealth Games. To excel in this competition, I’ve been training really hard and smart because I know nothing comes easy, every hurdle and obstacle is a step closer to achieving my goals.
What are some of your training regimes for the games? Any last-minute training tips as you prepare to take on the Commonwealth Games?
Having more throwing sessions, spending more time practising my rotations and technique is key to achieving my targeted distance. The more I practise, the more confident I will be in my performance.
Similar to Under Armour’s motto ‘The Only Way Is Through’, I believe we have to focus on our strengths to come out stronger and better on the other side. On top of that, I will also need to put more focus on functional training at the gym as it builds strength that will eventually improve my throwing.
What are some of the dietary requirements that you had to undergo to ensure that you’re in tip-top condition to compete?
Eating well, making sure I’m hydrated while taking my dietary supplements is super important. Sleep is also essential for athletes like myself because if my body is not in top notch condition to compete, my performance will be greatly affected.
One of my go-to gears is the UA Recovery, a recovery range that features mineral-infused fabric that is so comfortable and helps my muscles to recover faster when I sleep.
As important as being physically ready to take on the games, we know how crucial it is for an athlete to be mentally prepared as well. How do you stay entirely focused on the goal?
Stay calm, be patient and focus. As an athlete, progression is actually the key to excellence. If I’m starting to feel that my training is getting tougher and I don’t see myself making any progress, I will need to remind myself that these are the necessary challenges that will ultimately help me become a better athlete.
Nothing in life comes easy, I have to keep going and keep pushing myself to perform better, even when I feel like giving up.
What are your expectations and goals at this year’s Commonwealth Games?
I am currently in Europe and have been travelling to Germany, Prague, Slovakia, Norway and Sweden. I have been competing in local competitions in order to gain more exposure with the other athletes, which makes it more exciting for me.
It has helped me pave the way for my preparation for the upcoming Commonwealth Games. The more I get to throw, the more likely I am able to achieve my target. After all, practice makes perfect. My main focus is to throw further, so my training has to be efficient and focused on that.