A GROUP of six students were given a hero’s welcome in Johor Baru for making the country proud at an international jump rope tournament in China.
The students from Johor aged between 10 and 13, scored 10 medals — four gold, three silver and three bronze — at the Rope Skipping China Open 2019 tournament in Beijing.
With 15 countries participating in the tournament, the students had to give it their all during the six days of competition.
The team consisted of Ahmad Taariq, 10, Muhammad Khidhair, 12, Aniq Irfan, 13, Hakimi Arif, 13, Thaqif Iman, 13, and Ahmad Nabil, 13, from SK Sri Tebrau and SMK Dato Jaafar.
They participated in all categories for those below 14 years old and won gold in team freestyle, team speed, double dutch pair freestyle and single free style events.
The team was also proud of rising above Team China in those categories.
“It was very tense throughout the tournament, but I’m glad we outperformed the world champion for our gold medals, ” Thaqif said, adding that he had never expected to achieve such a feat.
For Hakimi, the best part of the tournament was being able to spend time in Beijing.
“I really liked the cold weather and we even had two days of sightseeing after the tournament, ” he said, adding that he hoped to join the world championship in Canada in July next year.
Head coach, Mohd Ibrahim Badcha, initially expected the team to win five gold medals, but he was not disappointed as their performance had improved.
“In August, we sent 19 students to a tournament in Korea and only bagged three gold medals, ” he said, adding that the children trained daily for a month before the tournament.
Johor Rope Skipping Association president Habibah A. Hamid, who accompanied the children to Beijing, said it had cost almost RM5,000 per student to get to the competition.
“We are very grateful that the respective schools chipped in to make it possible for these talented athletes to go overseas and make the state proud, ” she said.
Johor education, human resource, science and technology committee chairman Aminolhuda Hassan congratulated the students and presented flower bouquets to the winners at Senai Airport.
“This sport may not be well known to the public, but it is a great achievement nonetheless.
“You have brought much pride to Johor, ” he said.
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