When someone says Terengganu, images of keropok lekor and beautiful beaches automatically come to mind. Now, add 21-year-old Azreen Nabila Alias to that list.
On her way to the much-anticipated Tokyo Olympics, Azreen is determined to sprint below 12 seconds in the women’s 100m for her Olympic debut.
Back in 2018, the sprinter beat a decade’s old Malaysia Games 100m record which was previously held by Siti Fatimah Ahmad by just a mere 0.01s, finishing the race at 11.8s.
Azreen’s dad passed away back in 2014 and her mother sells keropok lekor.
Speaking to NST, Azreen explained why she chose this particular sports,”My parents wanted me to be a sprinter as they saw something in me.
“I studied at the Bukit Nenas Sports School when I was 13, and then the Bukit Jalil Sports School after completing my Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examinations.
“I never wanted to leave home, but my mother motivated me. The fact that my father wanted me to become a sprinter (before he died) made my resolve stronger,” Azreen said.
Azreen added that a lot of people are questioning her talent since she made the entry into upcoming the Olympics, “I know what is being said (and discussed online), but my mind is only on my task. I want to arrive in Tokyo with a positive mind and then run the race of my life.
“I can only do it by shutting out all the negative vibes and focusing on the positives — I am going to the Olympics!”
Since January, Azreen spends her days at the training track and night at the NSC hostel because of Covid-19.
“I have been training with the backup athletes at the NSC track since January, but most have left for home. I only have one junior athlete to train with.”
Apart from Azreen, Kajang-born Hup Wei will be competing in the Olympics for the third time following his qualification as World No 27 on the Road to Olympics rankings.
World Athletics even offered the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) a wildcard for a female athlete to compete in Tokyo where they chose Azreen to represent Malaysia.
Even though Azreen is tied at World No 57 ranking with 24 other athletes, she is determined to break her own record for the big game.