PROMISING: On track for Juniors World Championships after winning 200m sprint gold
UMMI Hamimah Mohamad yesterday lived up to the expectations of her fans by storming to the Malaysia Games women's 200m sprint gold in Temerloh yesterday and also kept her birthday present promise to her mother.
In just two years after taking up cycling seriously, the 18-year-old from Dungun, Terengganu, has upstaged the most successful female cyclist at the last Malaysia Games, Jupha Somnet of Perlis, in two heats.
Ummi Hamimah has signaled her promise by bagging three gold medals in last year's edition at the Kuala Lumpur Velodrome, when she combined with Zahraa Anuawar to win the team sprint, the team pursuit while clinching the keirin gold medal.
"This time, the event was on my mother's 37th birthday and I promised her a medal this morning. I rode the sprints, determined to do well as both my parents were here to watch me race this time," said Ummi Hamimah, who immediately embraced her mother, Rozita Chik, upon securing victory with 19-year-old Jupha trailing a good bike length behind at the finish line in the second heat.
Both the finalists are trainees with the national elite squad based in Melbourne under coach John Beasley.
The gold medal will also serve as a boost for Ummi Hamimah, who heads to Invercargill, New Zealand for the UCI Juniors Track World Championships on Aug 22-26.
"It's a special feeling to be able to give my mother this gold medal as her birthday present," said Ummi Hamimah, who concludes her Malaysia Games campaign in the 500m time trial today.
The presence of his parents was also the deciding factor behind Fattah Amri Zaid's victory over Malacca's Arfy Qhairant Amran in the men's 200m sprint final.
The 20-year-old Kedah sprinter had drawn on the motivation from his father, Zaid Abdul Aziz, after he was tied with the more favoured Arfy on a heat each and was entering the deciding third heat.
"I beat Arfy in the first heat, but after he beat me in the second heat, I was quite tense. But my father told me that it's not over and that there was still the final heat to contest and he urged me to remain focused.
"That lifted me and I was inspired. I went to my team manager and told him the same thing, that it was not over," said Fattah, who with Arfy, trained under Beasley earlier this year.
Fattah retained the 200m sprint gold medal that he won at the Kuala Lumpur Velodrome last year, but insisted that this was a harder race.
"In the velodrome, we can use the embankments and parts of the track to help us gain momentum. But here it was a flat out sprint on the road, so we had to just rely on mental strength and right timing," said Fattah.
Arfy will not have to wait long to exact revenge, as both of them are the two favourites for the 1km time trial today.
Results - 200m sprint - Men - Final: Fattah Amri Zaid (Ked) bt Arfy Qhairant Amran (Mal) 2-1, Bronze: Fakhruddin Daud (Joh) bt Malek Marcus McRone (Sel) 2-0; Women - Final: Ummi Hamimah Mohamad (Ter) bt Jupha Somnet (Per) 2-0, Bronze: Lauretta Eva Adrian (Sab) bt Farina Shawati Mohd Adnan (Sel) 2-0.