Sunday August 12, 2012
Sports students do M’sia proud
By PRIYA KULASAGARAN and LUWITA HANA RANDHAWA
LAST November, gymnast Amy Kwan Dict Weng fractured her left foot.
As injuries are part and parcel of being an athlete, Amy went through it and was back on her feet by April to train for the Fourth Asean Schools Games.
Then, trouble struck at the tournament itself.
“It was the same fracture at the same place,” said the 17-year-old Bukit Jalil Sports School student.
Despite being on four different painkillers, Amy went on to scoop four gold medals in the rhythmic gymnastics category: hoop, ball, ribbon and overall team events.
Held in Surabaya, Indonesia recently, this year’s games featured students from seven countries competing in a range of sporting activities such as athletics, badminton and swimming.
Malaysia ranked third overall in the games and garnered 100 medals in total: 29 gold, 36 silver and 35 bronze.
In recognition of the Malaysian contingent’s achievement, the Education Ministry recently organised a special ceremony at the Bukit Jalil Sports School in Kuala Lumpur to celebrate the athletes.
Education director-general Tan Sri Abd Ghafar Mahmud said that through sports, students can learn good sportsmanship as well as engage in healthy competition.
“This is why the ministry is serious about promoting sports amongst students.
“This year, we have allocated RM28.3mil for the development of sports,” he said in his speech at the ceremony.
Abd Ghafar also said that structured and long-term sports programmes in schools would produce even more capable student athletes.
“It is my hope that all of you here will continue to do well, and go on to represent the country... on an international level,” he added, before handing out certificates and souvenirs to the students.
Although shy at first, Bukit Jalil Sports School student Sharifah Shatrah Razali was animated when asked about her love for sports.
“Sometimes it was hard to juggle school and training,” said the 17-year-old.
“I think on average, we trained at least two to three hours a day. It’s just a matter of setting a target and working to achieve that goal.”
Fellow schoolmate Choo Kang Ni, 18, expressed a similar sentiment of the trials of training and meeting expectations.
“Once you start training, you don’t really think of it as work but just something you have to do to get what you want.
“And it was definitely worth it to get the medal at the end of the day!” she said.
Sharifah Shatrah earned a silver in the 4x400m girls relay while Kang Ni received silver in the girls discus throw.
Other athletes meanwhile, shared that their love for sports had started from a young age.
Syed Mohammad Agil Syed Naquid,18, who was part of the boys’ gold medal-winning tennis team, said that he had been playing tennis for the past eight years. “(The tournament) was quite tough and (one) must be hardworking to be a winner,” said the former SMK Pendeta Za’ba, Negri Sembilan student.
Syed Mohammad Agil, who completed his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examinations last year, added that he was currently looking into studying hospitality.
Eswaran Rajanderen, 17, who won gold for the 5,000m race-walk, said that he was overjoyed by his win at the games.
“Before this, I was more into football than anything else. However, after being given the opportunity to train as a runner, I started to love it as well.
“My only advice to other student athletes is that you need to give it your 100% when you train because it’s not just how many hours you put in, but it needs to be quality training as well,” said the SMK Bukit Mewah, Negri Sembilan student.
Nur Amanina Tugumin, 17, has been interested in athletics since she was 13 years old.
Crediting her parents for giving her strength as an athlete, Nur Amanina said her family was very proud of her achievement.
The Sekolah Sukan Tunku Mahkota Ismail, Johor student won gold in the 100m hurdles.