Female Athletes Continue to Be at The Pinnacle of Excellence Despite Many Challenges

By: Michelle Liew

In recent years, the performance of the country's female athletes has become more and more prominent both at the local and international level.

Among the figures in the spotlight is national duathlon athlete Tahira Najmunissa Muhammad Zaid who does not consider managing a family and raising four children aged five to 13 an obstacle to continue being active in the sport.


Nicknamed the ‘Iron Woman’, she is always looking for a balance between family and career to be able to give the best in whatever she does.

"Every day is a difficult struggle for me because I have to divide my time wisely in multitasking to manage my daily life. However, I am grateful to have a family that has always been my most loyal supporter throughout my venture into this extreme sport," she stated.

Tahira Najmunissa recalled winning second place at the Kuala Lumpur Standard Chartered Marathon (KLSCM) last year. At the same time, her youngest daughter Sharifah Daniaa Abdul Rahman had just undergone heart surgery a week before that.

The 2022 SEA Games women's duathlon silver medalist, who was not in her best condition at the time, did not expect to be able to climb the podium when she had to go back and forth to the National Heart Institute (IJN) every day to ensure her daughter was always comfortable and safe.

"When my daughter entered IJN, I couldn’t stop crying because I was too worried about the second surgery. She previously underwent surgery when she was eight months old. However, I channeled the spirit of my youngest child to keep fighting for the country," she said.

National women's pole vaulter, Nor Sarah Adi worked really hard to ensure that Negaraku and the Jalur Gemilang flag flew majestically on the international stage.

Nor Sarah Adi

After winning the SEA Games gold medal in Hanoi, Vietnam, she felt more determined to be independent to continue fighting for the country, even though she had to be away from his family who resided in Jengka, Pahang.

"I have been training at the National Sports Council (MSN) since 2018, but at that time I did not receive any allowance or placement. Therefore, I had to take the Light Rail Transit (LRT) from my aunt's house in Puchong to MSN, Bukit Jalil every day.

"However, thank God I was fully absorbed into the podium program last year and thankfully I went through such difficult days because things like that strengthened me now," she said.

Nor Sarah also has dreams of becoming a journalist and has now completed her sixth semester in the field of broadcast communication at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).

On the other hand, national archery athlete, Syaqiera Mashayikh, expressed a feeling of pride when she represented the country at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, even though she did not succeed in bringing home a medal for the country.

Syaqiera Mashayikh

A 23-year-old athlete who is currently undergoing full-time training at MSN, Nilai feels that it is the dream of every athlete in this country to perform on the world stage and is thankful that she has at least performed at the world championship.

"I feel happy and proud when there are increasingly more female athletes and I hope that more female athletes who are able to continue to contribute their talents to the country," she said.