Spir­ited duo

Malaysian pair Tengku Hilda and Ivan Eve­tovics ran a good race.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TV - by S. IndRAMALAR

IF there is one thing elim­i­nated The Amaz­ing Race Asia 4 (TARA 4) con­tes­tant Tengku Hilda wants to get off her chest, it is that she isn’t bossy or a spoilt brat.

“You know, I’m re­ally up­set that I am por­trayed as this re­ally bossy per­son. I am a good per­son. I climb moun­tains (away from the show) and I carry my own bags. But peo­ple don’t see that. One month of rac­ing and peo­ple think I am bossy and a spoilt brat,” says Hilda who, at the time of the in­ter­view, had just re­turned from a work visit to the Niah Caves in Sarawak ... with­out hubby Ivan Eve­tovics, her team­mate.

Hilda, 38, was cer­tainly one of the more mem­o­rable (and vo­cal) con­tes­tants in the race.

The cou­ple from Kuching, Sarawak, one of 10 teams this sea­son that be­gan on Sept 23, was elim­i­nated in week six (Oct 27). Not only did they lose their way en route to a chal­lenge, they faced their biggest hur­dle at the de­tour where they had to choose be­tween plunge (each con­tes­tant has to bungee jump) and swing (teams go on a high wire swing 150m in the air as a pair).

They chose plunge, per­haps not re­al­is­ing it was a bungee jump. Un­for­tu­nately, Hilda could not get over her pho­bia of heights and the team wasted pre­cious time.

“That was the most chal­leng­ing part of the race for me. I wanted to do it but I have a pho­bia (of heights). When I was six, I fell and hit my head and the fear is still in me. I know I was al­most hys­ter­i­cal but I just couldn’t do it,” says Hilda.

The cou­ple even­tu­ally switched de­tours and com­pleted the chal­lenge but were too late. They were elim­i­nated from the race.

“I wanted to win real bad. And af­ter we won the sec­ond leg, we thought, OK, this is doable,” says Ivan. Un­for­tu­nately, the race waits for no one. “Ev­ery­one there wants to win. We were com­pet­ing against the strong­est teams in Asia. Not ev­ery­one can get the chance ... all the teams were strong and mo­ti­vated,” ex­plains Hilda.

Hun­gar­ian by birth, Ivan, 33, is a uni­ver­sity lec­turer with Inti In­ter­na­tional Uni­ver­sity in Kuching. He met his re­searcher wife when they were in col­lege and the two have been mar­ried for 14 years and have a 10-year-old daugh­ter, Maryam.

“I came to Malaysia around 1994. My fa­ther was a swim­ming coach in Kuching and I fol­lowed him here and en­rolled in a col­lege. Hilda and I were class­mates and it was love at first sight, re­ally,” re­veals Ivan.

Though not a brat, Hilda ad­mits that she is some­what spoilt.

“I am a bit manja (pam­pered) but that’s be­cause he wants to do ev­ery­thing for me. He spoils me,” she says.

Hav­ing been to­gether for 15 years pre­pared them for the gru­elling na­ture of the race.

“It was the first time we com­peted in a race to­gether and sur­pris­ingly, it was quite nor­mal. Hon­estly, the race is a lit­tle like our lives, you know. We face all kinds of chal­lenges ev­ery day ... and we have to find ways to get through them,” sur­mises Ivan.

Adds Hilda: “Yeah ... we were uni-mates and used to do our as­sign­ments to­gether. We know each other well so there were no sur­prises.”

Both Ivan and Hilda are pretty ac­tive in judo, park­our and Brazil­ian Jiu Jitsu back in Kuching, so nav­i­gat­ing the phys­i­cal tasks in the race weren’t too tor­tur­ous.

“I think what we found most chal­leng­ing was find­ing the places (we had to go to). Ori­en­ta­tion was some­times a prob­lem.

“The chal­lenges and the road­blocks weren’t too bad. Oh ... ex­cept for the sewing chal­lenge in Sri Lanka. We didn’t know what the chal­lenge was or else Hilda could have done it. I have never sewed in my life,” re­calls Ivan.

What about Hilda who, in the first episode, looked about to have a break­down when she had to climb the steps of Batu Caves, Se­lan­gor, for a chal­lenge.

“Peo­ple mis­un­der­stand. It’s not that the task was dif­fi­cult. I had to do it three times be­cause I got it wrong and made a mis­take,” says Hilda. Was the race all they ex­pected it to be? “We def­i­nitely ex­pected a crazy ad­ven­ture. It was a race, af­ter all, and not a cruise. I knew it was go­ing to push us phys­i­cally and we were pre­pared for it,” says Ivan.

Though they’re no longer in the race, the cou­ple still fol­low the show faith­fully.

“You know, when the race is on, ev­ery­one is re­ally com­pet­i­tive. But in our down time, we are friends and it was nice.

“What you don’t see on TV is the crew. There are so many peo­ple work­ing on the pro­duc­tion and ev­ery­one is just so friendly and help­ful. We made some re­ally spe­cial con­nec­tions and that was great,” says Ivan. Who are they root­ing for? “The Malaysian team, of course,” says Hilda. Ethan Lam and Mohd Khairie form the other Malaysian team still in con­tention this sea­son. n TheA­maz­ingRaceAsia4 airs on AXN (Astro Chan­nel 701) ev­ery Thurs­day at 9pm. Re­peats are on Fri­days (2pm, 7pm, 11pm), Satur­days (1pm) and Sun­days (11am, 8pm).

Feisty cou­ple: Tengku Hilda and hubby Ivan Eve­tovics are out of the race.

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