Counting on Fazlia, Farhan
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.