By Patrick Beech
The King and Queen have expressed their pride and joy at the success of national athlete, Shereen Vallabouy, in bringing glory to Malaysia on the world stage.
In a post on the official Istana Negara Facebook, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah congratulated Shereen on her success in breaking the national women’s 400-metre indoor record.
She broke the record at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships in Kansas, USA, on Saturday (March 12).
Their Majesties expressed hope that the excellent achievement will spur her and the national athletes to continue to work hard to achieve success and glorify Malaysia’s name in future championships.
“Their Majesties wish Shereen good luck and pray that she will enjoy continuous success,” according to the post.
Shereen is the first Malaysian female athlete to dip under the 54-second mark in the 400m indoor race when she clocked 53.79s in Kansas, thus not only improving on her personal best of 54.94s, but also smashing the 16-year-old record of 54.58s held by Noraseela Mohd Khalid.
Shereen also broke the 12-year-old Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference record.
Meanwhile, the Foundation of Women Community in Sports (FOWCUS) president, Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin said it was high time the relevant authorities and agencies look into the plight of these unsung heroes, regardless of their gender and race.
“All over the world, female athletes face more challenges than their male counterparts and FOWCUS is committed to championing their plight in Malaysia.In this respect, FOWCUS will send a memorandum to the Youth and Sports Minister urging the Ministry and the National Sports Council to give due recognition to Shereen’s achievements and those like her. FOWCUS will also work closely with KBS to further the interests of women athletes in the country,” she added.