Syed Abdul Kadir
‘Coach’, as Syed Abdul Kadir is now affectionately known, first put on boxing gloves at the tender age of 11. This was the start of a successful and illustrious career, always staunchly supported by his family, especially his father who attended every single one of Kadir’s matches. His early competitions were in school boxing championships where he obviously excelled. After turning 18, he trained under a professional boxer turned coach and began winning matches in the light flyweight division. In 1968, under a new coach, he won the Singapore Open title which he held until 1976 and which catapulted him into the international arena.
In 1969 Kadir represented Singapore in his first SEAP Games, and for which he was awarded one gold and two silver medals in the subsequent 10 years. A special moment in his life was in the 1971 SEAP Games when he defeated the ‘best boxer in Asia’. Kadir and his coaches had complete faith in his abilities and the gold medal confirmed his place as the most successful boxer in Singapore’s history.
In 1972 he went to the Olympic Games in 1972 in Munich where his hopes of obtaining a medal were dashed by a nasty cut on his eyebrow. However, he distinguished himself and his country in 1974 in New Zealand where he won Singapore’s first ever medal in boxing at the Commonwealth Games. Little wonder he was named Sportsman of the Year following that amazing achievement.
After retiring from competition, Kadir began coaching the National Team and was named Coach of the Year in 1985—yet another title in recognition of his tremendous dedication to the sport of boxing. He now runs his own boxing school, training professionals as well as people wanting to just get fit! “Heart’, the do or die quality is crucial to any success’ says Kadir, ‘you either have it or you don’t”.