A new challenge for Roslinda now as a teacher

A file picture of Roslinda Samsu clearing the bar during a paul vaulting event. Roslinda now teaches physical education, civics and sports science at the Malaysia Sports School in Penang.

KUALA LUMPUR: The ability to do a chin up landed Roslinda Samsu in pole vault – and later in the Malaysian history books as one of the best pole vaulters to have donned national colours.

The four-time SEA games gold medallist and 2006 Asian Games silver medallist had called time on her career in January last year to pursue a new calling as a teacher and coach at the Malaysia Sports School in Pahang.

“I was about 14 when my coach, Cikgu Mat, asked me to do a chin up.

“It was my first and only test and he told me that I would take up pole vault. That’s how I got my start,” said Roslinda, who hails from Padang Terap, Kedah.

“It’s tough. I think I will have to go to the kampung (villages) to find the next female pole vaulter. It’s not that city girls can’t do it, they are just not interested. But kampung girls have a special quality in them – they’re stronger, braver and more gung-ho to pick up the sport.”

Roslinda, who teaches physical education, civics and sports science, has seven boys aged between 13 and 15 under her.

The 32-year-old, who was at the closing ceremony of the Sprints, Hurdles and Jumps (level three) Coaching Course conducted by the Malaysian Athletics Federation and National Sports Council in Bukit Jalil on Wednesday, admitted that she is finding the change to be an eye-opening experience.

Her charges are undergoing multi-lateral sports – doing sprints, hurdles and high jump – and she says that three of them are ready to start training pole vaulting.

“Oh, it’s tough! You wouldn’t think it to be so different having spent my entire career on the field but it’s like night and day.

“I can finally understand the frustrations my coach had to go through with me. Now, I’m the one asking ‘why can’t you do that?’,” she said.

“Right now, even some of the boys that I coach can’t do a chin up! So, I have my work cut out for me, definitely.”

Roslinda still holds the national record of 4.40m (her personal best) which she set in Spain in 2006.

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