Young rider defies all expectations

Heba Nusaybah has participated in competitions in Malaysia and abroad. — Bernama

Heba Nusaybah belies her years, shines at equestrian archery

A 10-year-old girl has defied all expectations since she decided to start equestrian archery almost two years ago.

Heba Nusaybah Ahmad Mu’az is one of the youngest athletes in horseback archery and has never hesitated to pursue her interest despite falling off her horse on more than one occasion.

“The most important thing is that we have to trust the horse.Otherwise, the rider loses concentration.

“Calmness is the key in mounted archery,” she told Bernama.

“Just like humans, horses have emotions and know a rider’s feelings – whether we are scared, anxious, confident, selfish or quick-tempered.”

Heba Nusaybah and her 13-year-old brother, Abdurrahman Ahmad Mu’az, are no strangers to the sport under ARBA Equestrian Archery Club, having successfully made a name for themselves in several equestrian archery competitions in Malaysia and Indonesia.

The siblings competed in Indonesia Santri Day 2023 horseback archery tournament in Banyumas, Java as well as local tournaments such as Malaysian Horseback Archery League 2023 in Negri Sembilan, Tahfiz Malaysia Horseback Archery League 2023 in Kedah and the first and second series of the National Youth Horseback Archery Championship 2023 in Kuala Pilah, Negri Sembilan and Batu Kurau, Perak.

Heba Nusaybah said her interest in mounted archery was encouraged by her mother, who often took her to Rubinga Equestrian Park in Gombak, Selangor.

“Horse riding is one of my mother’s hobbies, so we also took part occasionally.

“Over time, we developed an interest in it and eventually fell in love with the sport,” she said.

Her mother and manager, Nurul Fathim Ridayu Ramli, 38, said her two children took up mounted archery after training with experienced instructors in Bogor and Riau, Indonesia, in December 2022.

“They received direct guidance from the trainer via WhatsApp for three months.

“Every day, they practised shooting 200 arrows and recorded a video to share with the trainer.

“The most important thing is the archery itself, which must be practised as often as possible, while riding is practised once a week,” she said, adding that her children travelled to Riau each month.

On the cost of the sport, Nurul Fathim admitted that it required significant resources, with the mother of six children aged between two and 14 undertaking various activities to generate income.

“I prefer to let my children learn to earn money independently.

“One of the ways to earn pocket money is by selling items at the (horse) stables, making bows and arrows and selling them, and holding classes on archery and horse riding,” she said.

Nurul Fathim Ridayu hoped the Youth and Sport Ministry would recognise the sport to encourage more people to get involved.

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