The Sarawak Ironman competition

The Sarawak Ironman competition

Often, when we speak about Ironman the first thing that comes to our mind is the well-known blockbuster movie starring Robert Downey Junior. But listen carefully: the Ironman that I wants to celebrate here has nothing to do with Robert Downey or any cartoons character. It is the Sarawak Ironman!

The event banner

The event banner

First introduced in 2006, Sarawak Ironman is one of the highlight events of the World Harvest Festival, or WHF, together with Beauty Peagant Contest and Miss Cultural Harvest Festival. Ironman Sarawak is a competition held to test skills, strength and agility as well as mental and physical endurance, a contest generally open to men aged 18 and above.

According to the Sarawak Ironman’s Chief Coordinator, Ibrahim Abdullah, the main purpose of the competition is to promote local culture to outsiders. Apart from being a physical competition, the contest is perceived as unique thanks to activities that are towards traditional lifestyle.

Running while carrying a weight

Running while carrying a weight

“The Ironman competition idea came about while we organized the World Harvest Festival; most of the festival activities are gardening, cutting and rafting” – stated Ibrahim, adding that the ideas behind traditional activities were turned into categories of the Ironman Competition: jungle trekking, lifting and carrying rice sacks weighing of 50 kilograms, blowpipe, tire flipping, chopping wood, coconut peeling and rafting.

Two of the earliest participants to the competition since its inception said they became interested in Ironman because it is challenging and also because they like to mingle and learn different techniques with other participants. “Because it is one of the most challenging events”, said 43 years old Khairuddin Amir Hamzah. “This competition is a good event for us to mingle around, plus we have the chance to test our strength. We even can learn other technique from each other”, admitted 45 years old Amirhanafi Ali.

One of the disciplines at Sarawak Ironman

One of the disciplines at Sarawak Ironman

Aminzani Zainudin, one of the active participants in Ironman, stated that “usually, preparation is the most important agenda of any game”. He normally starts training 2 month before the competition. Ricky Poh, a policeman at his first attempt in the competition, said that the event feels challenging and tough to him. He advised new participants to get ready to a 2 to 3 months intensive training, and to get any possible advise from senior participants with previous experience.

After winning Sarawak Ironman three times and failing to get any place last year, 41 years old Jury Amrullah Ibrahim was crowned the winner of this year competition. “I am confident that consistent training is the secret of my success. The more you train, the better result in the end.”

The podium

The podium

This competition is indeed very significant to society and should be continued and maintained for the sake of future generations. A Malay proverb says “tak basah dek hujan, tak lekang dek panas”, meaning “cultural heritage needs to be preserved in order to remain relevant and remembered by the public”.Do you feel up to the task? Don’t miss the opportunity to test your stamina in next year’s Sarawak Ironman’s.

The World Harvest Festival usually falls in the month of May and consists of a wide range activities like Ethnic Kitchen Master Chef. Also, you will also get the chance to see the biggest live museum in Borneo.

For more info, click on http://www.whf.com.my/new/iron_man_2013.php

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About the author

Cato is a young woman from Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. Cato gained a Bachelor Degree with honours in Social Science majoring in Communication Studies at the University Malaysia Sarawak - UNIMAS. After a long spell as a full-time reporter writing for TV and Radio news in Borneo and beyond, she is currently a Special Officer in the public relations field. She is also a regular and passionate contributor at Asian Itinerary. Cato is a dynamic woman with several interests and hobbies like travelling, listening to music, playing guitar, reading, kayaking and surfing the Internet. She is a young promise in the travel-writing world, and one of the main exponents of Asian Itinerary.

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