WORLD CLASS

Got what it takes to go Olympic? Read this CLEO ex­clu­sive on cham­pion cy­clist Fate­hah Mustapa’s daily life.

CLEO (Malaysia) - - BODY FEATURE -

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!”

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