PETALING JAYA: Kuala Lumpur SEA Games gold medallist M. Mathivani will miss the long-awaited internal karate competition this weekend but she is not kicking up a fuss.
The 29-year-old maths and science school teacher is taking it slow as she has just recovered from appendicitis.
“I had my appendix surgery on Oct 27. I’m back in training and happy with my progress but I’m taking it one step at a time, ” said Mathivani, who teaches at the Beaconhouse Newlands International School in Cheras.
“There will be an internal tournament this weekend but I can’t take part. I’ll be with my teammates and cheering them on.
Mathivani admitted that dealing with her health issue and juggling between sports and teaching during the Covid-19 quarantine period had been a testing time.
“It was mentally challenging for me. In the beginning, I had to drive to my school right after my training. Then, I had to be in front of the screen for a long time for the online classes, ” she said.
“Then, training under quarantine is tricky too. I’ve to keep myself sane! Fortunately, keeping in touch with friends, family and the NSI (National Sports Institute) staff has really helped me.
“I’m an active person and used to be busy with sports and work but I had to alter some of the activities. And that made it harder when I had to go through the surgery.
“All these experiences, though, had really taught me a lot. I had to be patient and trust the process although I eagerly want to get back on my feet as soon as I can, ” she said.
“And it’s good to have a back-up plan as I’ve seen how this pandemic has taken a toll on everyone.
“Eventually, I learnt that having ‘me’ time is very important as this will make you run further in life... it’s about prioritising.”
If all goes well, Mathivani, who trains under head coach Ali Reza Souleymani from Iran, said she would be back in the ring next month.
“Training under coach Ali has been good, he is like a father figure to most of us and really helps strengthen our basics. I’m hoping to be sentfor the Olympics qualifier next year but we’ll see, ” said Mathivani, who has been with the national team since 2007.
Karate is making its debut at the Tokyo Games.
Asked how long will she keep going in karate, she said: “Definitely not another five years! Now, I’m all geared up to show what I can deliver. I’m confident that I can still contribute. Eventually, I will pass on my knowledge to others... the transition will happen eventually.”