THE Samson Vallabouy residence in Buntong, Ipoh, was abuzz after daughter Shereen (pic) ran superbly to win the 400m Asian Games bronze medal.
The 24-year-old posted 52.58s to become the first Malaysian athlete in 17 years to stand on the podium after finishing behind Bahrain’s duo Mujidat Adekonya (50.66) and Salwa Eid Naser (50.92) at the Hangzhou Olympics Stadium on Saturday.
Her mother and former national athlete Josephine Mary said she had called relatives and family friends for a potluck dinner to watch the race and it was all worth it when they saw Shereen score her first milestone in Asiad.
“There was plenty of food and fun and Shereen made it all worth it,” said Josephine.
“Now, our household will have three bronze medals, two from me and one from her,” said Josephine, who won the 800m bronze medal in Seoul (1986) and 4x400m bronze in Beijing (1990).
And the party at home is set to go on for one month, at least, when the US-based Shereen returns home after the Asian Games.
Josephine is looking forward to meeting her daughter as she will be in Ipoh for a month once the Asian Games is over.
“She has not been to her hometown in the last two years. Even after the SEA Games in Cambodia, she had to return to the United States for training,” said Josephine.
“Now she will have time to visit friends and family. We are looking forward to seeing her. There is lots of excitement back home.”
Josephine said she was not surprised with Shereen’s exploit.
“Since young, Shereen has always been focused on getting what she wants. She wanted to be an athlete just like me and my husband. We told her the sacrifices she would have to make and yet, she took the extra mile by getting herself to the United States,” said Josephine.
“Life was not easy because she was away from Malaysia, had to be real diligent with training and also had to focus on her studies. But she was willing to go through that.
“She is very passionate about athletics. As a mother, what else can I ask for? She has made the family proud by bringing back a medal for Malaysia after 17 years.
“I know she will get continued support in her athletics endeavour. She aims to qualify for the Olympics, and I believe under the tutelage of Derrick White in Florida, she is headed towards that path.”
Josephine hopes for another good outing from her daughter, who has opted from the 200m, to concentrate on tomorrow’s 4x100m relay event.