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  • Writer's pictureLouisa Ong

Competing in international archery events to broaden their cultural horizons.

Alfyan coached his students to compete in international archery events to broaden their cultural horizons, acquainting with other ethnic sports teams

According to Alfyan Ariff, the Founder of Traditional Archers Singapore (TAS), traditional archery is closely knitted with the Muslim community, and is a sport that was widely practiced in the days of ancient civilisation. With the aim of reviving its rich culture and heritage, Alfyan imbues the science and art of archery, teaching the virtues of concentration and tenacity as his community actively engaged in promoting the rustic charm of this traditional sport.

The uniqueness of traditional archery is that, it may be done individually and in groups, making it suitable for people of all ages including children, adults and the elderly. It is also a great way of promoting inclusivity and self-confidence among the students and archer enthusiasts who travel as far as the eastern part of Singapore to attend their weekly classes at Punggol, rain or shine.

Alfyan has mandated social impact and inclusivity at the heart of his business, a motto that has guided him and resonated with the social mission of Social Innovation Park. TAS has reached out to more than 20 underprivileged families and students through subsidised fees and school grants. Since traditional archery emphasises virtues like discipline, sportsmanship and striking the target, both literally and metaphorically. The founder also believes that sport is an accelerator for fostering friendships and building team reliance and accountability to one another. In order to perform well at the game, participants learn to concentrate on the target to improve their performance, a natural diversion to keep unhealthy thoughts and distractions at bay.

“This is the essence of giving back to the society – enabling the less fortunate to experience this wonderful sport together with a community. When you contribute to bettering the lives of people, you will innately come to a realisation the value of helping others. There is also a sense of accomplishment as one develops his mental and physical endurance in this sport,” says Alfyan.

Furthermore, the lush outdoor environment at Social Entrepreneurship and Eco-park Development (SEED) provides the incentive of getting working adults and seniors outdoors away from their sedentary lifestyles. As the adage goes, a healthy body leads to a healthy mind, thus participating in an engaging and challenging sport reaps many health benefits.

In the hope of broadening students’ cultural understanding and horizon, several of TAS’s students were coached and found the opportunity to compete at the international level, while acquainting with other ethnic sports teams from Asian countries. A student who once participated in a competition in Kyrgyzstan reveals “We gain exposure to the culture from various archers from other countries, and they also share their knowledge with us when we compete in an amiable spirit.”

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