KUALA LUMPUR: The postponement of the Junior Asia Cup has turned out to be a big relief for hockey goalkeeper Siti Mardiana Ahmad (pic) of Sarawak.
The 19-year-old can now focus on reducing her weight to win a place in the squad.
The Junior Asia Cup was supposed to be held in Kakamigahara, Japan, in April but it has been postponed to a later date due to Covid-19.
Siti is only 1.56m tall but weighs 76kg, which is quite heavy for a keeper.
The Kuching-born Siti, who was called up for national junior training although she has not played hockey for the last two years, admitted that she needed to shed a few kilogrammes to win a place in the Junior Asia Cup.
“I’m too heavy for a goalkeeper and I’ve been trying hard to lose weight to be in better shape. Fortunately, I have a few more months to work on this,” said Siti.
“I’m happy though to receive my first national call-up since I took up hockey four years ago. Initially, I was surprised as I’ve not played in any tournament since the Sukma (Malaysia Games) in Ipoh two years ago.
“I’m not going to waste this opportunity. I’ll get in shape and train hard to make my international debut.”
Besides Siti, the others vying for the keeper’s position are Siti Zalia Nasir and Mashitah Abdul Khalid.
“Zalia is an experienced keeper, who has played for Malaysia in the Asia indoor Cup in Thailand last year but Mashitah is also a newcomer like me,” said Siti.
“I’ve a fighting chance, I’ll do my best to impress my coach Lailin (Abu Hassan) in training,” said Siti, who will report for duty on July 1.”
The Junior Asia Cup is the qualifying tournament for next year’s Junior World Cup in Potchefstroom, South Africa. The Malaysian girls have never qualified for the Junior World Cup.
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