SEA Games veteran Izzati wants newbies to have no fear

PETALING JAYA: Have no fear and never give up!

This is the message sent by national basketball player Nur Izzati Yaakob to the debutants in the women’s team set for the SEA Games in Vietnam from May 12-23.

Toh Ke Hui, Foo Suet Ying and Tan Sin Jie are the players who will be seeing action in the biennial Games for the first time.

Izzati, a veteran of four Games, wants her younger teammates to give their all and be fearless.

“My advice for the newcomers is to give everything they have, have no fear and to fight till the end,” said Izzati.

The 33-year-old is hoping for the team to get a bronze medal in Hanoi.

“I am hoping we can achieve our target of getting a bronze. Of course it will be great if we can get better results. We win together, lose together as a team and no one is left behind,” explained Izzati.

She helped the team win gold twice (in 2015 and 2017) and bronze in (2011 and 2013).

The team had shorter time to prepare this time as they had to get used to new teammates and coaches.

“During the pandemic, our national team went through some changes. This year, there were new selections for the SEA Games just before Chinese New Year. We also had to get used to new coaches who joined that time. So, we were trying our best to prepare well in this short period of time,” explained Izzati.

The current head coach for the 5x5 team is Low Tong while the assistant coach is Thoh Chai Ling.

The men’s and women’s teams will be leaving for Vietnam on May 14 while the 3x3 teams will be leaving earlier on May 11.

The teams had an extra incentive to bring back medals for the country after the Malaysian Basketball Association (Maba) president Datuk Seri Lee Tian Hock announced generous rewards of RM 50,000, RM 20,000 and RM 10,000 for gold, silver and bronze respectively to each member of the team.

For the record, Malaysia only managed to return with a bronze in the women’s 3x3 in the 2019 edition.

They will be looking to improve on that showing this time around.

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