KUALA LUMPUR: Home is where the heart is for artistic gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi (pic).
After qualifying for the Olympics and winning three SEA Games golds recently, the Malaysian Gymnastics Federation (MGF) had stated that they might send her to the United States for a training stint ahead of the Tokyo Games.
But the Subang Jaya lass prefers to train here surrounded by familiar faces.
“When I qualified for the Olympics, I did all the preparations in Kuala Lumpur and it paid off, ” said Farah Ann who bagged the women’s Olympian of the Year award at the Shangri-La Hotel here on Thursday.
“For next year’s Tokyo Games, I feel it is better to train here with my coaches and teammates.”
Meanwhile, Farah Ann is thankful to receive the Olympian recognition.
“There are many people behind the scene who made this possible. From my parents to teammates, they helped me achieve this level.”
The 25-year-old qualified for the Olympics after finishing 59th out of 234 competitors in the individual all-around qualifying round at the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
She made the cut by finishing 16th out of 20 gymnasts in the third qualifying criteria based on her individual all-around result.
“Qualifying for the Olympics, winning three golds in Manila and this award... they are all memorable. I cannot pinpoint one special success.
“The year has been really sweet to me and I hope it continues in 2020.”
The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) award is no stranger to Farah Ann’s family.
In 2013, her parents Abdul Hadi Hamid and Kimberly Ann Gagnon won the partnership award.
“My parents won it before, so this win is meaningful to us. For me, this achievement is such a blessing and I am thankful to be here.
“I am very grateful to even get nominated for the award.
“I think all the ups and downs make this year great. It has shaped me to prepare physically and mentally because I knew that the highs and lows, is there for a reason.”
Farah Ann is the fourth gymnast to receive the award after Au Li Yen (1997), Ng Shu Wai (2005) and Amy Kwan Dict Weng (2018).
She received RM10,000 cash and a gold medal from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.
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