Friday, May 1, 2009

Sad for Seela

It must be hard to know a loved one had passed on while you are thousands of miles away at the other end of the spectrum.

Hurdler Noraseela Mohd Khalid's father Mohd Khalid Abdul Rahman passed away last Wednesday. Only when I surfed my Facebook this morning that I realised she had updated her status last Friday, telling her friends of her father's demise.

Seela, as she is known to everybody, is currently pitching her tent in Pretoria, South Africa, in her relentless pursuit to qualify for the Olympics. She came close to booking a ticket to Athens in 2004 and was plagued by injuries which scuppered her plans for Beijing 2008.

The 29-year old is also aiming to return to her once adopted country, Germany, by earning a ticket to the IAAF World Championship in Berlin later this year.

The 400m hurdler, who bagged the Asian Games bronze medal in Doha three years ago, must be shattered that she could not attend her dad's funeral.

I hold Seela in high regard. Not only has she gone faster than our icon of the 70s, Marina Chin, a feat that has gone unnoticed by the public, but Seela to me is the epitome of the modern athlete -intelligent, strong-willed and not easily cowed by officials and officialdom.

A true product of the SM Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah (SAAS) in Kajang, Seela's emergence as a hurdler of calibre was chronicled by yours truly in the Malay Mail. It began when she won the Sukma 1998 gold medal at the Shah Alam Stadium.

She completed a golden debut in the Brunei SEA Games a decade ago, becoming the first Malaysian since 1977 to win the event after Jessica Lau and her 58.70s obliterated her previous best of 60.33s and the old national record of 60.23s registered in 1983 by Oon Yee Chan.

I was there at the terraces when Noraseela bagged the bronze in the Asian Championship in Jakarta a year later, then shared her disappointment in losing to Thai hurdler Wassana Winatho in the 2001 SEA Games, before she bounced back to regain the gold in Hanoi in 2003.

When I was invited by the German Embassy for a study trip to the land of Beckenbauer et al in 2005 ahead of the 2006 World Cup, I slotted in a visit to Leipzig to see for myself Seela's training conditions and whether all the money spent on her was justified. Of course it was. But she has had to prove herself all over again to officials who are better off as politicians. Then again in her business, you are only as good as your last run.

Seela and family, including Inspektor Jamil (her brother), Norliza (sister) and hubby Raja Affandi Jamaludin (editor of Yasmin Ahmad's films), takziah from me, Intan and the whole family.

Buying kebab in Leipzig.

Outside her school

Seela used to cycle more than 20km a day in Leipzig

Few realise Marina Chin's record and other medal-winning performances had long been consigned to the scrapheap by Seela

12 comments:

subkhiddin said...

Rizal, salam takziah saya untuk sdri Seela dan keluarganya. Kehilangan seseorang yang amat dekat dengan diri kita sememangnya amat menyakitkan. Doa dan keyakinan saya semoga Rohnya dianugerahkan Allah kebaikan seperti yang dijanjikan.
Khusus untuk Seela, kentalkan semangat, teruskan perjuangan.. insyaALLAH kami sentiasa bersama saudari.
Amin

Jim Morrison 'wanabe' said...

My deepest condolences.

Anonymous said...

deepest condolences. be strong.


for the game. for the world.

Anonymous said...

Seela,

tahziah atas kehilangan orang tersayang. semoga roh arwah dicucuri rahmat oleh Yang Maha Esa

tingkat 5 MSN

Jogho said...

Al-Fatihah utk Allahyarham En.Khalid..
Moga2 Seela tabah mhadapi dugaan hidup dalam mcapai kejayaan yang diimpikan..
Allah lebih menyayanginya lebih dari kita semua.
Semoga Seela dapat terus hidup dengan selamat dan redhalah akan kepergian Ayahandanya yang tercinta.
Amin.
Salam dari Bandar DiRaja Perak

Anonymous said...

Takziah dan kiriman Al Fathihah dan doa yg hanya termampu dari kami. Satu lagi pandangan ikhlas saya, agar Seela tumpukan perhatian membentuk dan membantu melahirkan pelapis sebagai pengganti coz' judging by the age, performance wise etc etc...u had enough alreday, Wassalam

Christopher Raj said...

My Condolences to the Seela and the family.God Bless You.

Anonymous said...

This is a response to the 6th comment, dated 2nd of May 3.41pm. This comment refers to the section “my honest opinion”. First of all I find this comment ill-placed especially when this article is written to honour her father who has just passed away and to honour her successful career for which she has fought for most of her life. Secondly, I am surprised that someone would use age to judge the performance of an athlete. I wonder; is this a woman writing? A woman who underestimates women and who knows little about sports? Finally, may I add that there are many women and men in the athletics career that are still performing way past the age forty; some even winning the gold medal in the Olympics.

There is a time and a place to say such things but if you wish to say them, THINK and KNOW what you are talking about!

Jennie, from London

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Jennie. Seela is very determine in what she does especially sports. It's her passion and she has fought so many hurdles to be where she is right now. Even at this level, she's not satisfied with what she's achieve cause the DREAM is so big, only those who have ever dream and chase after their dreams successfully would understand it. I've been following her since day one and it's frustrating to deal with all the negative minded people. Her late FATHER is her biggest fan and source of motivation and strength. He followed her closely and would always be at the stadium to watch her running. Sha, live up your spirit, Ebu is so proud of you and I'm sure he would want to see more success and record breaking from you. He's in God's hand now. Let's pray together that his soul rest in peace and given high place in Jannah Ul Fursad. Amin
~LI

Anonymous said...

Rizal,

For your info, our father passed away on 22/4/2009 while performing Umrah in Mekah. He collapsed at the hotel lobby upon returning from Zuhur prayer at Masjidilharam. Heat stroke is a probable cause though no post mortem was carried out. His body was laid to rest on Thursday,23/4/2009 in Mekah after Asar prayer. He was only 57 years old and it's a shocking and heartbreaking news to swallow. We would like to thank everyone for the kind words and to Seela, hang in there my dearest sister. I wish I could be there to console you. Be strong, train hard and pursue your DREAMS!
-LIZA

Adelin said...

Salam takziah buat Seela. I agreed on 2 things, the comment by Mr. Anon was ill-placed & he/she could be right also, let's train somebody else. Wassalam

rizal hashim said...

Hajjah Liza, thanks for the info. I was frantically trying to call Insp Jamil but he must have changed his number, while Seela did not actually describe what happened. To breath your last in the Holy Land is the aim of many a Muslim. Imagine thousands performing solat Jenazah for your dad. Again my condolences to you and family, and my salam to Tn Hj.