KUALA LUMPUR: Heptathletes are often tall, imposing figures – after all, it takes a lot of brawn to excel in seven different disciplines.
But for Winnie Eng May Xin, size does not matter.
Standing at 163cm and weighing in at only 54kg, she’s far from imposing but that’s not going to stop her from being a heptathlete.
She has already proven everyone wrong by registering a personal best of 4,510 points in seven disciplines –100m hurdles, 400m, 800m, long jump, high jump, javelin and shot putt – to win the gold at the last Sukma (Malaysia Games) in Ipoh in 2018.
She even broke the 22-year-old Games record en route to the medal.
The City lass has not competed in any heptathlon since then, but she is planning to repeat the gold and record feat at the next Sukma in Johor next year.
The 21-year-old said she was happy being the top junior heptathlete in the country despite lacking height.
“You normally need to be tall and have strong muscles to feature in seven disciplines but I have proven that, despite my average body, I can still outdo bigger athletes with better physique, ” said Winnie, who has been training under coach Hisham Mustaza Ibrahim for the last three years.
“There is also a lack of heptathlon meets in Malaysia and I have not featured in one since Sukma two years ago. But I still compete in individual events to stay in form and shape.
“What keeps me going is that I want to defend my Sukma gold by doing another personal best in Johor Baru in March next year.
“I am the No. 2 heptathlete in the country after SEA Games silver medalist Norliyana Kamaruddin and my goal next year is to feature in the Hanoi SEA Games.
“I need to score more than 4906 points to qualify for the SEA Games and I am ready for the challenge. I am also eyeing to be the national No. 1 heptathlete by breaking the national record of 5247 points (set by Norliyana in KL SEA Games in 2017) in four or five years’ time, ” said Winnie, who is pursuing a degree in economics management at the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).
Her effort at the last Sukma was 57 points better than the previous record of 4,453 points set by Pahang’s Masliza Shaari in Kuantan in 1996.
It was also a huge 508-point improvement on her previous best of 4002 points which she did in the National Schools Sports Council (MSSM) Championships in 2016.