PETALING JAYA: National petanque player Nurul Atiqah Abu Talib is a girl in a hurry.
She can’t wait for the Singapore SEA Games to start.
For her mind is fixated on winning the nation’s first petanque gold medal at the Games.
This comes after she bagged Malaysia’s first world title in the shooting event at the World Petanque Championships in Cheras last year.
“My mind has been on the SEA Games since last year ... I can’t wait to get started,” said Nurul Atiqah, 20.
“I’m very proud to represent my country at the Games for the first time... hopefully, I can bring home Malaysia’s first gold.
“I’m getting a bit nervous now and, with teams like Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam taking part, it will not be easy but I’m confident.”
Nurul Atiqah, who took up petanque – which originated in Provence, France in early 20th century - when she was 14, has grown rapidly in stature in the sport.
“It took a lot of hard work ... but my passion for the sport drove me on,” she said.
“My friends invited me to try out the sport and I only played for fun then. But the more I played, the more I enjoyed it.
“It was when I began training seriously that I learnt more about the sport.”
Even when she was accepted into Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) to do the English Language Course (ELC), she made sure she balanced her training time with her studies. As tiring as it was, her passion for the sport kept her going.
“I’ve had to manage my time properly, but all my hard work paid off when I won the world title. Hopefully, I can continue to play on for the country,” she said.
By Joash Ee De Silva