KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 (Bernama) -- The Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) today agreed to provide a comprehensive assistance package of RM400,000 to Southeast Asia’s 400-metre queen Shereen Samson Vallabouy to further develop her potential on the world stage.
Minister Hannah Yeoh said the assistance package was to enable the 24-year-old SEA Games women’s 400m gold medallist to continue her training programme in the United States after graduating from Winona State University in Minnesota this month.
She said the package includes the cost of accommodation, coaching, meal allowance, supplements, cyro treatment, sports massage services and tournament exposure.
“This package will start from June 1 this year until July 2024, which will enable Shereen to undergo training at Lifespeed Athletics Florida under the supervision of coach Derrick White,” Hannah told a press conference after announcing the aid package at Parliament Building here today.
With the assistance, Hannah also expressed hope that Shereen, who is also the national record-holder, will work hard to qualify on merit for the World Championships this August in Budapest, Hungary, to win gold at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games and qualify on merit for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
At the recently concluded 2023 SEA Games in Cambodia, Shereen lived up to expectations to win the gold medal with a time of 52.53 seconds, merely a month after smashing the 30-year-old national record of 51.80s at the 63rd Annual Mt SAC Relays in California.
The women’s 400m national record previously belonged to the late Rabia Abdul Salam who clocked 52.56s when she achieved it in the Philippines in 1993.
In the meantime, Hannah said the assistance Shereen enjoyed was also a commitment to further empower women’s involvement in sports which is one of the ministry’s priorities at the moment.
“I believe this will also motivate potential young athletes to prove their abilities so that they can enjoy similar assistance as given to Shereen based on merit,” she said.
Meanwhile, Hannah said the National Sports Council (NSC) is in discussion with another national athlete Umar Osman to identify the form of support for him in order to take steps ahead of the Hangzhou Asian Games and the series of competitions after that.
Umar also created a sensation at the 2023 SEA Games when he not only bagged the men’s 400m gold, but also broke the nearly 22-year-old national record held by Mohd Zaiful Zainal Abidin after recording a time of 46.34s in the final.
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