SQUASH player Aifa Azman, 18, beamed with pride as she received the Gold Sportsperson Award in the 2018 Education Ministry-Malaysian School Sports Council-Milo (MOE-MSSM-Milo) Sports Awards in Kuala Lumpur recently.
As the highest accolade in the MOEMSSM-MILO Sports Awards, the Gold Sportsperson Award is not given on an annual basis, but instead, is reserved for those who showed excellence in sports and studies.
The junior squash player had a stellar season last year, winning three British Junior Open titles and three Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour titles at age 16.
Having completed her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia last year, she is planning to focus on playing squash professionally and will pursue her tertiary studies next year.
Feeling proud to be the second squash player to receive the recognition, Aifa said:
“This is truly an honour and I’m most certainly grateful for it. It is also very significant to me as I now get to follow in the footsteps of my idol, Datuk Nicol David, who is the past recipient of this very same award.
“I’ve been in the same team with Nicol in the Commonwealth and Asean Games. She is really admirable for her warm and humble nature. In fact, she advised me to strive harder and achieve better than her,” she added.
“I wish to thank my parents, teachers and coach for their support and guidance in pushing me past my limits and realise my goals.”
The sportsgirl and sportsboy awards went to Izzah Amzan (rhythmic gymnastics) and Muhammad Fauzi Kaman Shah (sailing), respectively.
National gymnast Izzah, 19, said the recognition has encouraged her to strive harder in facing challenges.
“For the Sea Games in the Philippines this year, only two gymnasts from each country will be performing and so, there will be a selection process. I need to stay focused to secure my place.
“Although there are different challenges in every competition, I don’t feel that they are a stumbling block. Anything can happen and if I really want it, I just have to work for it,” she said.
“This year, I’ve already participated in two tournaments in France and Portugal.
In two weeks’ time, I’ll be joining another competition,” she said.
The award ceremony was to fete top performing students, teachers and coaches in MSSM competitions last year. It also honoured the achievements and contributions of Malaysia’s young athletes.
Officiating at the ceremony was education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin. He emphasised the importance of placing value-based learning at the core of sports education.
“Putting values at the heart of sports education is in line with the National Education Philosophy, which seeks to produce individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced and harmonious.
“It nurtures positive human values such as teamwork, respect, effort, ambition and humility,” he said.
Source: New Straits Times https://bit.ly/2Pmx8RJ