A tough path to success for trailblazer Farrah

The good doctor: Farrah-Hani Imran with some of the medals she had won in her career.

PETALING JAYA: She has gone from a young girl in leotards to being an associate professor in medicine, but it was no walk in the park.

Dr Farrah-Hani Imran, who was 15 when she became the first Malaysian gymnast to compete at the 1993 World Championships in Alicante, Spain, had to overcome many tough challenges along the way.

“This is special, especially after working hard for over 10 years, standing up against dengki (jealousy), fitnah (slander) and jokers who claim ‘sukan tak penting’ (sports is not important),” she said.

A year after the world championships, she retired before charting a stellar career in medicine. And she has capped it with the associate professorship (Prof Madya) at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) at the age of 43.

Dr Farrah-Hani is the first athlete in the country to be an associate professor in medicine, and also the first gymnast to gain such recognition in any field.

The Malaysian Gymnastics Federation (MGF) vice-president received her confirmation in her post last weekend and said it was the “best Hari Raya present”.

Dr Farrah-Hani graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland (RCSI) in 2002 with the Association of Graduates Medal, and obtained her Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) in 2005.

She completed her MS (Plastic Surgery) from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in 2010 and did her doctorate on mental health in University College Dublin.

She is currently a lecturer at UKM and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Burns Unit and Wound Care Team chief.

She hopes her success would spur parents to continue supporting their children in education and sports.

Even though she retired at the age of 16, she was still very much part of gymnastics as she helped out the federation, and was the rhythmic gymnastics team manager in the 2017 SEA Games.

“We need to work hard and find ways to etch a name for ourselves. We will be targeted, but just ignore the naysayers and do your job.

“I hope this recognition will help encourage parents to keep their kids in sports. Serendipitous timing as many parents and people are giving up sports post-Covid.”

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