Sunday, January 31, 2016

Waiting to bloom

By Tony Mariadass
Pictures by Azneal Ishak

The Openg children of two girls and a boy are among the many raw talent in the Falcon Athletic Club in Seremban.
The children of an excavator operator Muhd Arif Openg from Sarawak – Muhd Sharul (eight years-old), Nur Shafilia (eleven) and Nur Shaida (12) – have been part of the Falcon athletics programme for the last two years.
All in the family - from left Nur Shafilia (11 years old) Muhd Sharul Muhd Arif Openg (8) and Nur
Shaida( 12)
Pint-sized Nur Shafilia is seen as the brightest spark among the three with her agility, speed and well-structured body for athletics.
“Nur Shafilia maybe a little small and short for her age, but she has tremendous potential to be a sprinter,” said P. Tamilselve who supervises her training.
“The other two siblings too have a natural ability to be athletes, but Nur Shafilia seems to standout,” said Tamilselve a former Penang athlete who has moved to Seremban since her marriage.
Pint sized 11 year-old Nur Shafilia shows her agility and potential to become a top athlete in trainingNur Shaida has already competed at the Negri schools athletics meet last year where she won silver medals in the 100m and 200m.
“I missed to represent the state at the national schools meet and hope to achieve it this year,” said Nur Shaida who is under the development programme with the club.
Nur Shafilia and Muhd Sharul get special attention from coach P. Tamilselve before they do their routineNur Shaida and Muhd Sharul are under the grassroots development programme together with 12 other athletes.
Their mother Maznah Sidar diligently brings her three children for training every Sunday at St Paul’s Institution and to their school training at SR Bukit Mewar every day.
The mother of six who met her husband when he was working during the building of the KLIA project in Sepang, said Nur Shaida showed interest in athletics from young as she loved to run.
“Soon Nur Shafilia and Muhd Arif followed her footsteps too. I hope to see them represent the state one day and if they can represent the nation in time, I will be very proud,” said Maznah who was at the training centre with her four-and-half month old baby – Nur Shafira and older daughter Nur Shamin (14) who is not inclined towards athletics. Her oldest son, Muhd Shafiq (17) plays football.
Another budding athlete in the programme is 15-year-old Pavitraa Kuichalan who is a shot putter.
Shot Putt thrower Pavitra Kuichalan trains with Sabapathy watching

“Pavitraa is well-built for a 15-year-old and I decided to try her out for shot putt and she was an instant hit,” said S. Sabapathy.
Pavitraa, who is under the development programme has already won the gold medal at the Seremban Schools district meet.
Pavitraa has another younger brother, Maahsisah training under the grassroots programme.
Another 15-year-old of Indian and Indonesian parentage, Subahtra Sahtiya Murthi is another potential athlete who can go far.
Subahtra has represented her school – SM Bukit Mewar – in the Seremban district meet last year and won the bronze in the 100m and 200m.
Like many parents who bring their children for the programme, her Indonesian mother brings her to the programme on a motorcycle and waits for her to finish her training before taking her home.
Parental care...Subhatra Sahtiya gets a ride home from her mother after training
Other potential athletes under the development programme include S. Kothanayagi (cross country), Nayli Tukijan (100m/200m), B. Ranitha (100m/200m – silver medallist Seremban district meet), G Kishen (800m/1,500m), M. Paveen Raj (100m/200m), R. Nancy (100m/200m), R. Theveen Prakash (100m/200m/400m – Seremban district bronze medallist), R, Sashiv Prasath (triple jump), R. Rubirdraan (400m), S. Rooba (100m/200m), S. Turgashini (100m/200m - Port Dickson district Under-15 champion) , M. Paveen  Raj (100m/200m/relay), M. Jayaprakash (100m/200m) and P. Nathakumar (high jump)
Others potential athletes in grassroots programme are R. Rushaan Pradev, C. Vishnu, R. Darvindran, M. Lohendra, S. Harshamathi, C. Devishree, S. Kartheesan, S. Manishaa and P. Pathmanathan training under multi-lateral programme.
“The number of athletes joining the programme has been steadily been increasing over the years and we target to have at least 50 athletes training with us by the end of the year,” said Sabapathy.
The hot  morning sun is not a deterrent to these young athletes who train hard.
President: Sabapathy Sinnayah
Vice-president: Sity Faridzan Anuar
Secretary: Tamilselve Periasamy
Treasurer: S. Vasu
Committee members: Mohan Rajoo, Muraleedaran Packeri and Segamani Suppiah

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