Khairul Anwar Kasmani (Singapore Athlete)

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Khairul Anwar Kasmani
Khairul Anwar Kasmani.jpg
Born1986
EducationDiploma in Health Management and Promotion
Alma materRepublic Polytechnic

Khairul Anwar Bin Kasmani (born 1986), is a Singaporean football player in the Singapore Cerebral Palsy Football Team.[1] He is best known for representing Singapore in the ASEAN Paralympic Games in 2015, where he scored the majority of Team Singapore’s goals and contributed to the bronze medal win.[2]

Background

Khairul Anwar with his bronze medal from the 2015 ASEAN Paralympic Games. Photo credit Lim Sin Thai/ ST PHOTO.

Khairul Anwar developed hemiplegia, a type of cerebral palsy, on his first birthday after falling from a flight of stairs.[3][4][5][6] It affected the right side of his body, which caused issues with coordination and muscle tone as he grew up.[7][8][9] However, he did not let his disability affect his passion for football and eventually joined the Singapore National Cerebral Palsy Football Team in 2009.[10]

Education

Khairul Anwar is an alumnus of Republic Polytechnic,[11][12] where he studied health management and promotion at the School of Sports, Health and Leisure (SHL) from 2014 to 2017.[13][14][15] At the time, juggling his commitments as a national athlete and a student had posed challenges for him. In 2015, Khairul Anwar was in the second year of his diploma studies when he competed at the ASEAN Paralympic Games (APG). He spoke about how he managed to overcome this obstacle:

“I have to thank my classmates a lot when it comes to this. They have always been there for me, supporting and encouraging me especially during the APG which was the same time as the exam period. Without their help, I don’t think I could have handled the pressure and focus in both directions.”[16]

Work

After graduating from Republic Polytechnic in 2017, Khairul initially had trouble finding a job due to his disability. The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) hired him under spexBusiness, a government-funded initiative to help Singaporean athletes transition into life after their sporting career.[17][18] He started work in June 2017 at MCCY as a customer service and administrative staff.[19]

Football career

Khairul Anwar (#10) pictured at the 2015 ASEAN Paralympic Games. Photo from The Straits Times.

Khairul Anwar primarily plays as a striker and a midfielder.[20][21] According to the Cerebral Palsy-International Sports and Recreation Association, Khairul is classified as a CP7 athlete and is one of the two CP7 players on the Cerebral Palsy Football Team.[22] A CP7 athlete usually has one side of their body affected, causing them to walk and run with a limp.[23]

Beginnings

Inspired by former football players David Beckham and Fandi Ahmad, Khairul Anwar started playing football at the age of seven, always joining his neighbours and siblings for football games.[24][25][26] In secondary school, he would sneak out of his house to play football with his friends in the middle of the night as his parents forbade him from the sport, afraid that his grades would suffer at the expense of his passion.[27] Khairul Anwar spoke about his persistence to keep playing football against his parents’ wishes:

“Example like (sic), tomorrow there’s a friendly game in the morning, my parents don’t allow me to play (football), I will just like you know, sneak out from my house (sic). The school will always (be) locked on the weekends, that doesn’t stop us (sic). We actually climbed over the gate. Come to think of it today, I have cerebral palsy and I actually climbed over the gate, just because of football.”[28]

When he was in secondary four, Khairul was given the opportunity by his school’s new coach to play a game in an inter-school match. This grew his confidence and helped him believe in his skillset over the years.[29]

Early career

Khairul Anwar started his football career by playing in the National Disability League, representing the Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA).[30] In 2010, he represented the team in a futsal match against Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, and obtained the title of 'Most Valuable Player (MVP)'.[31][32] He then played for the Singapore Disability Sports Council's cerebral palsy team as its captain and striker.[33]

ASEAN Paralympic Games

In 2009, head coach Mohamed Zainudeen, a veteran in the Singapore football scene, founded the Singapore National Cerebral Palsy Football Team which Khairul Anwar joined as a midfielder.[34][35] He then helmed the team as its captain from 2014 to 2016.[36] Overall, Khairul Anwar has managed to win a silver and a bronze medal at the ASEAN Paralympic Games (APG) in 2014 and 2015 respectively.[37][38] Most recently, he was set to compete with the Cerebral Palsy Football Team at the 2020 ASEAN Para Games in the Philippines.[39] However, it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[40][41]

2014 ASEAN Paralympic Games

At the 7th ASEAN Para Games in 2014, the Singapore National Cerebral Palsy Football Team faced Thailand in their first match. They won 5-1, with Khairul scoring the fifth goal from outside the penalty box.[42] After a 3-2 win over Malaysia in the semi-finals, Singapore went on to face the hosts, Myanmar in the finals, where they lost 2-0.[43] Despite the loss, the team achieved a silver medal.[44][45]

2015 ASEAN Paralympic Games

The Singapore CP team celebrating their bronze medal win. Photo credit Jereld Ang/ Red Sports.

The 8th edition of the ASEAN Para Games (APG) was held in Singapore from 3 December to 9 December 2015. Out of the ten goals Singapore scored against other teams in the 2015 APG, Khairul Anwar scored five of them.[46]

Singapore v. Indonesia (1 - 0)

The Singapore National Cerebral Palsy Football Team went up against Indonesia in their opening match on 5 December.[47] Khairul scored the only goal of the match - one that came from the halfway mark of the field at the 59th minute, to give his team a 1-0 win.[48]

Singapore v. Myanmar (3 - 5)

During this match, Khairul Anwar became the first Singaporean footballer to score a hat trick (three goals in a single match) at the National Stadium.[49] He scored the first goal in the opening minutes of the match, and two long-range goals in the last ten minutes of the match.[50][51]

Singapore v. Thailand (0 - 5)

Khairul Anwar's team lost 0-5 to Thailand on 6 December. That same day, Khairul Anwar met David Beckham at the latter's request after he saw Khairul Anwar's exceptional goals earlier in the tournament.[52]

Khairul Anwar pictured with David Beckham in 2015. Photo credit to Marina Bay Sands/ The Straits Times.

Singapore v. Malaysia (4 - 2)

On 7 December, the Singapore CP football team won 4-2 against Malaysia with Khairul scoring another long-range goal in the second half of the match.[53] This moved them into the playoff against Malaysia for the bronze medal.[54]

Singapore v. Malaysia (2 - 1) - Bronze medal match

On 9 December, Singapore came out victorious against Malaysia for a second time, winning the overall bronze medal at the 2015 ASEAN Para Games.[55]

2017 ASEAN Paralympic Games

At the 2017 ASEAN Para Games, Khairul Anwar scored a goal in the first half of the opening match against Malaysia, during which the Singapore team lost 5-3.[56] In the semi-finals, Singapore lost 6-0 to Indonesia.[57] They were again matched up with Malaysia for the bronze medal playoff, where they lost 4-0.[58]

References/ Citations

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  11. Republic Polytechnic - School of Sports, Health and Leisure. Facebook. November 18, 2015. Accessed on 7 August 2020. Retrieved from: https://www.facebook.com/RP.SHL/photos/a.250462955023406/947742008628827/?type=1&theater
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