Bub­bly host

Azura Zainal is hav­ing the time of her life bring­ing view­ers high­lights of the Com­mon­wealth Games 2010 in New Delhi.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - R.AGE - By AZHARIAH KAMIN

Azura Zainal is hav­ing the time of her life bring­ing view­ers high­lights of the Com­mon­wealth Games 2010 in New Delhi.

AT the men­tion of Azura Zainal, one is re­minded of the bub­bly girl who co-hosted Dis­ney Buzz 11 years ago. She was 18 then.

Now, Azura, 29, is still go­ing places with her first love TV host­ing. She is the com­men­ta­tor on the cur­rent Com­mon­wealth Games 2010 in New Delhi, In­dia, which is air­ing on Astro Arena (Astro Chan­nel 801).

Through­out the du­ra­tion of the Games, she will be pre­sent­ing some of the sport­ing events live. There is also an hour of high­lights of the games at 7am and 11am daily. And, of course, she will also be there for the live tele­cast of the clos­ing cer­e­mony at the Jawa­har­lal Nehru Sta­dium on Oct 14 start­ing at 9.30pm.

“I’m so ex­cited at be­ing in­volved and am ex­tremely ner­vous too,” said Azura in an in­ter­view at Me­nara Star, Petaling Jaya, Se­lan­gor, prior to her de­par­ture for New Delhi, last Fri­day.

“I cov­ered the Monsoon Cup in Tereng­ganu in De­cem­ber last year. That was my first time get­ting in­volved in a sport­ing event, and now, with the Com­mon­wealth Games I’m just so ex­cited,” said Azura who did her home­work by watch­ing sports events on TV and get­ting to know as much as

she could about the 14 events in the Games.

Astro view­ers sub­scrib­ing to the sports pack­age are able to fol­low our ath­letes’ quest for glory.

“I’m even more ex­cited de­spite our young age, for the fact that Astro Arena has been ap­pointed as the host broad­caster for bad­minton in the Games.

“This is a ma­jor feat for the chan­nel, only six months af­ter its launch, and the first time that a Malaysian pro­duc­tion crew has been tasked with the as­sign­ment since Malaysia hosted the Games in 1998.”

Azura’s ex­cite­ment is un­der­stand­able as she is one of the chan­nel’s faces since its launch in April.

Azura also co-hosts Ak­tif­pe­dia, a sports ed­u­ca­tional show on Arena, with AF fi­nal­ist Burn.

“Through Ak­tif­pe­dia, I’ve learned a lot about many sports, in­clud­ing the not-so-pop­u­lar ones. It is a great ex­pe­ri­ence and to­tal fun do­ing sports, such as row­ing, cricket, ice hockey, lawn bowl, capoeira, judo, karate and bas­ket­ball in the show,” said Azura.

When asked how she ended up with Astro Arena, the Kuala Lumpur-born lass said the of­fer came from chan­nel man­ager Venu Ra­madass who was look­ing for a host.

“I re­mem­ber telling him that if he was look­ing for a sexy, pretty young thing (as the host), then I would not be suit­able for the job be­cause I like to be out there ... get­ting down and dirty. I love all things ex­treme,” said Azura, who also dab­bles in act­ing and sing­ing.

In June, she played the cov­eted role of Gusti Pu­teri Retno Du­mi­lah in Pu­teri Gu­nung Ledang The Mu­si­cal (PGLM) at Live! Singapore.

The play, which was staged in English for the first time, also saw the re­turn of Stephen Rah­manHughes as Hang Tuah, Ed­win Su­mun as Sul­tan Mah­mud and Gani Ab­dul Karim as Gusti Adi­pati.

“Act­ing in PGLM had been re­ally ex­cit­ing be­cause I love danc­ing and sing­ing and Datin Seri Tiara Jac­quelina (who played the princess in the Malay ver­sion) was very help­ful in show­ing me the ropes of play­ing Gusti Pu­teri in the mu­si­cal,” re­called Azura.

Azura al­most re­leased her de­but al­bum six years ago when she signed up with Uni­ver­sal Mu­sic Malaysia. The record­ing deal fell through due to her hec­tic sched­ule with Dis­ney Buzz and the change of man­age­ment of the record­ing com­pany.

‘’Mu­sic is in my blood and I love sing­ing as well.”

Grow­ing up in Klang, Se­lan­gor, as the fourth child in a fam­ily of seven, she got her first taste of sing­ing in pub­lic when she joined the Malaysian Na­tional Choir at the age of nine.

‘’I ac­tu­ally wanted to dance, but my late mum in­sisted that I sing,” she said.

‘’I went for the au­di­tion and got a place along with my then best friend and my cousin. It was my mother who ex­posed me to per­form­ing, and I even got to fly to Auck­land, New Zealand, with the Na­tional Choir for a show.

“We also per­formed with the Vi­enna Boys’ Choir at the King’s birth­day.”

“I was 18 when my mum told me about an au­di­tion for a TV host for Dis­ney Buzz. She en­cour­aged me to give it a try and I suc­ceeded.”

The rest is his­tory as she hosted Dis­ney Buzz for four years while the pro­gramme spread its wings to other coun­tries in Asia.

“I’m happy with what I am do­ing now and it’s thanks to my mother. I guess she knew what’s good for me.

“As for now, I re­ally want to get se­ri­ous with my sing­ing. I’m plan­ning to at­tend vo­cal classes but I just need to find time to do it,” said Azura whose last foray into sing­ing was the re­lease of sin­gle Bila Mama Pakai Ce­lana, a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort with Ur­ban Ex­change and Ruffedge in 2008. n Tune in to the Com­mon­wealth Games2010 on Astro Arena (Astro Chan­nel 801) with one-hour high­lights at 7am and 11am daily, plus re­peats through­out the day. The Games ends on Oct 14. Also, catch Azura Zainal on Ak­tif­pe­dia ev­ery Thurs­day at 8pm on Astro Arena.

Ac­tive lass: ‘I like to be out there ... get­ting down and dirty. I love all things ex­treme,’ says Azura Zainal.

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