KUALA LUMPUR: Good genes are not enough to ensure success, but hard work and discipline are what will 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 a degree in Tourism and Recreation at Winona State University in Minnesota in the United States.
Tan relayed the message via an online conference call yesterday with the athlete during a presentation ceremony for her financial support from the foundation.
“We are happy to help Shereen with her living and other expenses for the duration of her studies.”
He reminded her to come home and serve Malaysia after she completes her studies.
“Malaysia has lost a lot of talent. Too much brain-drain. The good ones left to study overseas and we hardly see them come back to serve the country,” he said at the event in Berjaya Times Square.
He also said he was impressed with Shereen’s achievements and admires her zeal to be the first Malaysian female athlete to qualify for the 400m dash at the 2024 Olympic Games.
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.”
Shereen’s mother Josephine Mary Singarayar thanked 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 that she will be able to continue her studies without having to worry about finances now.”
Shereen is currently on an athletic scholarship at the university that covers only her tuition fees.
The athlete said she is committed to excelling in her studies and athletic career, adding that she is focused on her goal of qualifying for the Olympics.
Shereen aims to beat the national record of 53.7 seconds in the 400m dash and beat her mother’s record of 52.5 seconds 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 at numerous events, which include the Asian-Youth Championship in Doha, Qatar; South East Asia Games in Singapore; World Youth Championship; and the Taiwan Open Athletics Championship.
At the ceremony, Tan and Sunita also 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 achieved huge success at the French Karate International Open, including netting 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 in addition to the home team, including India, Japan, Ukraine, Romania and Italy.