Got what it takes to go Olympic? Read this CLEO exclusive on champion cyclist Fatehah Mustapa’s daily life.
It’s not often that Malaysia is put on the world map when it comes to sports. So when a female cyclist makes global headlines, you know she’s big news. Our very own Olympic hopeful, Fatehah Mustapa, 27, has won medals for Asian Cycling Championships over the years, and is an Asian Games silver medalist. She was the first-ever Malaysian woman in cycling to qualify for the Olympics, and her journey to Rio this August will be her second time at the games. #malaysiaboleh! “This August, I’ll compete in the 200m Sprint even though it’s not my favourite event (the Keirin is my preferred event) but I’m still going to give it my all,” Mustapa enthuses. “It wasn’t easy to qualify for the Olympics, so I’m not going to give up.” Currently based in Melbourne, where she has been living for the past nine years, she trains with other Malaysian cyclists, Azizul and Shah Firdaus. Her coach, on the other hand, is one of the most supportive persons she knows: “He treats me like a daughter, and he’s always had my back, no matter what.” Like all champs, Fatehah is up at 5am (apparently the most successful people start their mornings this early, too) for her gym seshs, and pays special attention to her diet (mostly proteinbased) before and after workouts. Despite being in Melbourne for almost a decade, she definitely misses her friends and family on home soil. “My biggest inspiration is my family. They’ve supported me from the get-go, and they understand what it takes for my career. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.”
She also articulates her dreams: “Yes, I want to be an Olympic medalist — it’s my goal to achieve this before I retire. “Whatever you’re doing, never give up anything that you choose in life. Even if you lose, it doesn’t mean you lose forever; you just need to push yourself to get stronger each day.” So how does a world-class athlete wind down? Well, just like us, it seems. “Despite being surrounded by my support system, I also like to be alone and relax. I love watching movies, fishing and playing badminton, too, if I’m not cycling!”