Sakinah sets her sight on SEA games 


SAKINAH DALIPAge: 17 yearsSchool: SMK Dato Harun(Form Five)Height: 1.70mWeight: 68kgPosition: GoalkeeperFavourite Sportsperson: Nicol DavidFavourite Pastime: Reading, listening to radioFavourite Hangout: Relaxing at homeAmbition: Police officer 

ACHIEVEMENTS2002 MSSM girls' Under-12 champions2003-2004 MSSM girls' Under-15 champions2005 MSSM girls' Under-15 third2006 MSSM girls' Under-18 third 

THE rock solid assaults kept on coming at national women's handball first choice goalkeeper Sakinah Dalip. She was standing at the post when the women's side, preparing for the SEA Games to be held in Bangkok at year-end, went through the paces during training at the National Sports Institute (NSI) gymnasium in Bukit Jalil.  

Despite her jitteriness, the 17-year-old girl put up a brave front to fend off the shots to protect her goalmouth.  

Besides training for the biennial Games, the SMK Dato Harun Form Five student is also juggling her time to prepare for the SPM examination.  

“I know that I am sitting for a very crucial exam this year. Initially, my parents voiced their objections because they wanted me to concentrate on my studies. In fact, I did not expect to earn the national call u,” he said.  

“But, I am not letting the opportunity to don the national stripes slip away and I am prepared to sacrifice to represent the country,” said Sakimah, who is the seventh of eight siblings.  

All ready: Sakinah standing in between the goalpost at training with the national women's handball side.

After picking up the game in Year Six at SK Dato Harun, she had won honours with the Selangor School Sports Council (MSSS) sides at the Malaysia Sports School Council (MSSM) handball meets.  

“When I started, I played as an attacker. Later, the school coach fielded me as the goalkeeper because of my height,” she added.  

Meanwhile, the Malaysia Handball Federation (MAHF) have decided on the final 16 players each for the women's and men's sides to shoulder their challenge for honours at the Games.  

“Currently, they are training three times a week with longer sessions over the weekends. Our players are training part-time because of other commitments. We will be moving into two weeks of centralised training as our final phase of preparation for the Games in November,” said MAHF secretary-general Ng Num Thiam. 

Nor Azlin Md Nasir, 23, is the other goalkeeper named in the team.  

In addition, two other junior players - Siti Khadijah Ismail and Hasuna Azhar, both 17 - from SMK Bandar Sunway also made the cut.  

“We want to give the juniors the chance to prove their worth. So far, they have been showing good work to justify their places in the team. They have been in training since February. Back then, we started with two months of conditional training,” said Ng, who is coaching the men's team. 

Considering the challenges faced in acquiring the services of a full-time foreign coach with strong credentials, Ng said that they would appoint another local coach to guide the women's side.  

The countries competing in the handball competitions at the Games include Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.  

“In the women's competition, we are wary of the threat coming from Thailand and Vietnam. We are expecting our women's team to deliver a bronze medal.  

“On the other hand, we are confident that we can take on Vietnam in the men's competition. However, we see Thailand as a big stumbling block in our quest for the top spot,” said Ng. 

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