I've always had a soft spot for rhythmic gymnastics.
How could I not, since I myself meddled in the sport for three years of my life. Unfortunately, due to the "sexy" nature of it all, I made the painful choice to quit when I was 12.
Let me tell you that not a day goes by that I don't wonder how different my life would be should I have chosen to fight on. Don't get me wrong, I do not regret my decision. I mean, some of the fondest memories I have are ones from when I was in secondary school, ones that would not have been created should I have kept the tight training schedule I had in my upper-primary years.
It's just that, how can I not stop to ponder over this ever so often when most of my friends whom I used to train with under the guidance of Ms Petrina Low went on to become this country's top gymnasts!
You've got that right. My alma mater, Convent Bukit Nanas (CBN for short), produced quite a number of legendary talents. Farrah Hani Imran. Farah Zelinah Kemal. And even Durratun Nashihin Rosli.
Yes, the same Durratun who dazzled her way on the dancefloor to become the darling of our Commonwealth Games 2006 contingent. The same Durratun who amassed a whopping four silvers, making herself the Malaysian athlete bringing back the most number of medals for our country.
Watching her strut her stuff on the idiot box, I must say how amazed I am at how far the sport has gone in this country. Full of pride and amazement, I am.
And for you people who reckon "playing around with a hoola-hoop, bouncing a ball, and twirling a ribbon is hardly a serious sport," well, reckon again. Consider the countless hours of training per week (try juggling a six-hour daily sweating session with studies), the endless injuries, the lack of life outside the gym...Oh, not to mention, the truly unforgiving diet to stay as stick-thin as possible but still have the energy and stamina to do all of the above!
Also, here's something for you to ponder over: for the four silvers that she's brought back from OZ, Durratun has pocketed over RM130,000! You see, under the National Sports Council (NSC) incentive programme, an individual gold is worth RM80,000, a silver RM40,000 and a bronze RM20,000. As for a team of no more than 5 people, the prize money will be split between the members.
If you don't call a RM130K cash incentive serious, I don't know what is.
Durratun Nashihin Rosli, I salute thee. Thank you for highlighting Malaysia on the world map of rhythmic gymnastics.