CYCLING: Ummi Hamimah willing to make sacrifices
THE UCI Track Juniors World Championships in Invercargill, New Zealand from next Wednesday will be the difference between a year of studies or the pursuit of her sporting dreams for Ummi Hamimah Mohamad.
For that reason, Hari Raya Aidilfitri will be spent at the velodrome instead of with her family in Dungun, Terengganu for the first time in her life.
The 18-year-old has built her form to the level where she will be confident of meeting the demands of head coach John Beasley in order to remain with the national elite squad in Melbourne.
"My body feels good and I'm in good condition heading to New Zealand," said Ummi Hamimah, in Melbourne yesterday.
"I'm not too sad about spending Hari Raya away. It's the first time but I'll be racing so it's not so bad. It's not like I'm spending Hari Raya behind bars or anything like that," joked the double Malaysia Games gold medallist.
Ummi Hamimah has to meet an 11.5s 200m flying lap time if she is to remain in Melbourne, and she believes she has what it takes to zip past that mark.
"It's a half chance. I think I can make it," said Ummi Hamimah.
She is ready to put her studies on hold should the barrier be broken and her spot alongside Olympian Fatehah Mustapa and fellow trainee Jupha Somnet in what is prospected as a promising women's squad.
"My first aim was to further my studies, that's what I always wanted. But I'm going to give this my all and if I get a chance to go further in my cycling, then I won't hesitate to put my studies on hold," said Ummi Hamimah, who wants to pursue a degree in sports science.
"If I get a chance to move into Melbourne and race with the seniors next year, then I'm going to take it. But first I have to prove myself in the World Juniors."
Ummi Hamimah will contest the 200m sprint, scratch race and 500m time trial in Invercargill. Also in the squad for the meet are Malek Marcus McRone and Mohd Firdaus Suardi.
All three will hope to add to Malaysia's only ever medal in the world meet, a bronze achieved by Adiq Husainie Othman in the scratch race in Moscow in 2009.