PETALING JAYA: National rower Mohd Zulfadli Rozali is not just all brawn – he’s all brains too.
The 25-year-old, who is pursuing his Doctorate in Philosophy at Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), is the rowing team’s best hope for a gold medal at the SEA Games.
Rowing will be held at the Marina Channel in Singapore from June 11-14.
Zulfadli is so passionate about rowing that he didn’t mind travelling from his main campus in Batu Pahat, Johor every week to train with the national team at Batu Dam in Selangor.
“I usually have to be in Johor on Sundays and Mondays only ... the rest of the time I train in Batu Dam and work on my thesis,” said Zulfadli, will leave for Singapore with the team next Monday.
“Sometimes it’s difficult but I want to do well in both my studies and in rowing.”
Zulfadli and his team-mates will be under pressure to perform in Singapore as the Ministry of Youth and Sports have warned that the rowing team “need to contribute some medals if they want the sport to be in the Malaysia SEA Games in 2017”.
Zulfadli and Mazlie Daham, also 25, are the most experienced rowers in the team and they will compete in the men’s 500m and 1000m pair events.
“We are getting nervous because the pressure is on us, but we’re training like normal. Our coaches have also set targets for us to make sure we stay focused,” said Mazlie, who is pursuing a degree in Sports Science at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).
“Our time has also improved a lot since we began full-time training two months ago ... and we’re more confident,” added Mazlie in referrence to the three seconds they’ve shaved off the 500m gold medal time of 1:39 at the Asia Cup in Singapore in March where they finished fourth.
By Joash Ee De Silva