National gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi gets a hug from her father Abdul Hadi Ahmad after she and her team-mates won the team event at the Singapore SEA Games. - IZZARIQ ALIAS/ The STAR
KUALA LUMPUR: Focus on the positive.
That’s what national artistic gymnast Farah Ann Hadi will continue to do as she looks forward to scaling greater heights – with her eyes fixed on this year’s World Championships in Scotland in October and the Olympic Games in Brazil next year.
The 21-year-old Farah is on a high after winning two gold medals (team, floor exercise), one silver (individual all-around) and three bronzes (balance beam, uneven bars and vault) at the recent Singapore SEA Games.
“I took up gymnastics when I was three years old. It’s been 18 years now ... my whole life has been about this sport,” said the sweet-faced Farah.
“I have survived this long because of my positive attitude ... despite all the challenges that I’ve faced. I’m certainly looking forward to greater things.”
Injuries, setbacks and balancing sports and studies – these were some of the struggles she has had to weather to be where she is.
“There have been times when I had taken six months off or even a year to recover from various injuries. There have been moments when I pondered whether it was worth pursuing this sport after losing in competitions ... but I’m glad I hung on,” she said.
“My parents have been very supportive. They told me that they will support me no matter what I choose to do.
“There have been distractions which you have no control of ... but you just have to learn to ignore them. I’m more motivated after the SEA Games and my focus now is to do well at the World Championships and qualify for my first Olympic Games.”
Farah also hopes that the good showing of the women’s artistic team at the SEA Games will lead to better attention and focus on the sport.
Besides Farah, the others in the gold-medal winning team are Tang Ing Yueh (pic, above), Siti Nur Bahirah Ahmad, Tracie Ang, Nur Ellina Azmi and Lavinia Michelle Jayadev.
Ing Yueh also did well to win the uneven bars gold.
“Our team showed that we can produce results. Hopefully, all the gymnasts will get more opportunities to compete,” she said.
“I hope that many youngsters will also take up the sport. My advice to them is this: stay positive and persevere.”
*pic by IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The STAR
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