Keeping it cool on the pitch

The hockey player stands out for his confidence and maturity.

Joshua Tan Sheng Yao

Published: 22 May 2015, 10:58 PM

With less than two weeks to go to the 28th SEA games, you would think that most Singaporean athletes would be rather stressed out by now.

Well, that does not seem to be the case for Ahmad Faris Muhammad Johari. The 17-year-old hockey player, who just started his first year as a business student at Temasek Polytechnic, is rather calm about the upcoming games.

Still, Faris admitted that juggling his studies as a freshman in school with hockey trainings, which has increased to five times a week during this period, has been rather tough on him. The one thing that he “suffers” from is the lack of sleep.

To find balance between his studies and intense hockey trainings, Faris prefers to hang out with his neighbourhood clique, and have a quick catch up over dinner after his evening training sessions.

Being the youngest player, you might think that he has to meet certain expectations from his team. However, Faris does not feel the pressure while training with his older and experienced teammates for the upcoming SEA games, and is confident about contributing to the team with his adept hockey skills.

“I always make sure that before I step onto the pitch, I tell myself to just be confident and play,” said Faris, who has his eyes set on playing for an overseas club in the future.

Faris (In Red) facing off against the Malaysian team in a friendly match on May 11, 2015

Faris’ first encounter with hockey started when he was a 9-year-old student in Chongfu Primary School. Thereafter, he discovered his flair and passion for hockey and pursued the sport in Raffles Institution.

The young athlete got his big break when he tried out for the National Youth Trials, which secured him a place in the seniors team.

He started training with the seniors team in February 2014, and was eventually selected to represent Singapore for the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea in the same year.

The team lost five straight matches, but Faris still considered it his greatest achievement as it was his first time representing Singapore in the sport.

Interestingly, Faris used to head to the hockey pitch to watch his current teammates train before making it into the seniors team himself. He shared that it has been a surreal journey for him, as he is now training with the players that he once studied off the pitch.

He said: “All these players are the ones that I’ve been watching since I was young, and now I get to train with them. I still look up to them now, even though I see them every day.”

Faris (In Red) on the pitch racing it our against his opponent for the ball. Photo Credits: Ahmad Faris Muhammad Johari

Despite the looming pressure on the team to win medals during the upcoming games, Faris shared that he is more focused on improving himself as a hockey player.

He said: “I just want to improve myself as a player and to train with the best players in Singapore. My ultimate goal is to fulfill my potential.”

However, he still believes that commitment is a critical key to being a successful sportsperson, and he hopes to inspire his team mates through his dedication for the sport.

This belief is also echoed in his advice for aspiring youths who have dreams to make it big one day. “If you really set a goal for yourself, just believe and commit to the process,” said Faris.

You can catch up with Faris on Instagram (@farisss29) and Twitter (@tahkaboy11)! 

The 28th SEA games hockey matches will be held from June 6 to 13 at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium. Admission is free. Check out the detailed schedule here.


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