Hurdling beyond

New hand, new hopes: Former national athlete Noraseela Khalid is new president of MOA while former badminton star Ong Ewe Hock (pic below) is one of the committee members.

PETALING JAYA: There are no hurdles too big for Noraseela Khalid as she aims to lead the Malaysian Olympians Association (MOA) to greater heights.

The former national hurdler Noraseela was elected as the president on Saturday, making her the first woman to lead the association.

Noraseela is not the only new face in the new team as several other Olympians like Jiwa Mohan (hockey); Ong Ewe Hock (badminton); Phee Jinq En (swimming); and Annastasia Karen Raj and Loo Kum Zee (athletics) have joined the fray to give the MOA a new lift.

Noraseela, who took over the baton from former president Karu Selvaratnam, is honoured to lead the Olympians.

“It’s a privilege to helm the association, where there are many calibre leaders in their own right, ” said the 41-year-old.

“It does not matter whether it’s a man or woman but what’s important is to lead the association effectively and with full support from the elected committee and the entire MOA.

“It’s about empowerment and inspiring others and I believe, these are something that comes naturally to the Olympians. We can continue to set a good example to the wider population even though we are no longer involved in the sports.”

There are 340 Olympians registered under MOA.

“Some of them have passed away, this year itself, five Olympians left us, ” she said.

“Interestingly, the MOA include athletes from different generations since the 1956 Games (in Melbourne).

“In the past, most athletes competed for the country without any support yet they still reached the pinnacle – the Olympics. They trained and competed solely for the passion and duty to the country. We hope that these Olympians will continue to inspire the current generation.

Noraseela thanked Karu, who had competed at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics in sprint events and the previous committee, for all their hard work.

“Mr. Karu and few other senior Olympians reactivated the association (four years ago), after it was deregistered for many years.

“The process to reactivate itself was long and tedious but these few Olympians really invested their time and passion. We appreciate that.

“Now, because of their hard work, we have built a good relationship with the World Olympians Association and among the Asian counterparts. This committee will continue to strengthen these ties.

“One of our main goals is to create more visibility for MOA through the social media platform, oversee the well-being of the Olympians and organise suitable programmes that will benefit both the association and public, ” she added.

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