Count­ing on Fa­zlia, Farhan

New Straits Times - - Sport -

A LOT rests on the shoul­ders of judo ex­po­nents Nor Iz­zatul Fa­zlia Mo­hamad Tahir and Mohd Farhan Uzair Mohd Fikri at the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games (KL2017) this month.

Of­ten marginalised in the past in Malaysia due to lack of suc­cess, when com­pared to karate, pen­cak silat and taek­wondo, judo des­per­ately needs a shot in the arm and a gold medal would do just that.

Fa­zlia and Farhan, both ear­marked as po­ten­tial gold medal winners at the games, are aware of the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties they carry go­ing into the games.

"I want to win the gold medal for the judo team, I want peo­ple to see that it should be a core sport (in the sports de­vel­op­ment sys­tem) in Malaysia," said the 21year-old Fa­zlia.

"I want to prove that all sports should be treated the same, there should be no prefen­tial treat­ment.

"I be­lieve I am in good form now and ca­pa­ble of beat­ing Nguyen Thi Nhu Y. With the home crowd on my side and my par­ents com­ing to sup­port me, I will find that ex­tra strength I need."

Viet­nam's Thi Nhu is the de­fend­ing cham­pion and is seen as the only real ob­sta­cle to Fa­zlia in her quest for the women's un­der­78kg class gold.

Fa­zlia set­tled for bronze at both the 2015 Sin­ga­pore and 2013 Myan­mar Sea games.

Farhan, who com­petes in the men's un­der-73kg class, said a vic­tory on home soil would also spark pos­i­tive in­ter­est for the sport at the grass­roots level.

"I am aware of the re­spon­si­bil­ity on my shoul­ders as one of the se­niors in the team," said Farhan, who is also 21 years old.

“I know ev­ery­one is ex­pect­ing us to win and I will do ev­ery­thing I can to de­liver.

“I am sure many young­sters will be in­spired to take up the sport if we can win."

Farhan had also won bronze in his cat­e­gory at the Sin­ga­pore Games. The duo are both from Kulim, Kedah and spent their for­ma­tive years at the Tunku Mahkota Is­mail Sports school un­der coach Mar­jan Ab­dul­lah.

(From left) Mohd Farhan Uzair, coach Mar­jan Ab­dul­lah and Nor Iz­zatul Fa­zlia at a train­ing ses­sion in Bukit Jalil on Mon­day.

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