KUALA LUMPUR: Good genes are not enough to ensure success, but hard work and discipline are what lead to real success.
This was Better Malaysia Foundation (BMF) chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan’s advice for Malaysian athlete Shereen Samson Vallabouy who is currently pursuing her degree in Tourism and Recreation at Winona State University in Minnesota, US.
Tan relayed the message via an online conference with the athlete during a handover ceremony for her financial support from the foundation here, today. “ We are happy to help Shereen with her living and other expenses for the duration of her studies,“ he said.
He reminded Vallabouy to come home and serve Malaysia after she completes her studies. “Malaysia has lost a lot of talent. Too many brain drains. The good ones left to study overseas and we hardly see them come back to serve the country,“ he said at the cheque handing over ceremony at the Berjaya Times Square here, today.
He said he is impressed with Shereen’s achievements and admires her zeal to be the first Malaysian female athlete to qualify for the 400-metre Olympic Games 2024.
BMF deputy chairman, Datin Seri Sunita Mei-Lin Rajakumar said many Malaysian athletes have done well but failed to receive any financial support.
“We are committed to helping those in need who are deserving of aid so that they can reach their full potential,“ she said.
Speaking to reporters, Shereen’s mother Josephine Mary Singarayar teared up while thanking Tan and the BMF for the US$52,000 (RM228,000) in financial aid for her daughter.
“We are so proud of her, and glad and relieved that she will be able to continue her studies without having to worry about finances now,“ Mary said.
Shereen is currently on an athletic scholarship at the university that covers only her tuition fees.
Meanwhile, Shereen said she is committed to excelling in her studies and athletic career, focusing on her goal to qualify for the 2024 Olympics Games.
Shereen aims to beat the national record of 53.7 seconds in the 400-meter dash and also exceed her mother’s record of 52.5 in the same event.
The 24-year old started participating in school sports at the age of 12 and was coached by her mother until she was 16 when she secured a place at the Bukit Jalil Sports School.
Shereen represented Malaysia in numerous events, which notably include the Asian-Youth Championship in Doha, Qatar; South East Asia Games Singapore; World Youth Championship, and the Taiwan Open Athletics Championship.
At the ceremony, Tan and Sunita expressed BMF’s interest in helping a private Malaysian Karate team that had travelled on credit to Paris with the help of a local travel agency.
The media reported that the team scored a huge success in the French Karate International Open, including the country’s first gold medal in a global meet.
They came back with at least a medal each in the tournament, which saw 12 countries taking part besides the home team, including India, Japan, Ukraine, Romania and Italy.