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WEIGHTLIFTING can take a lot of out of an athlete but if he gets positive parental support, a big load is certainly lifted off his shoulders.

This is exactly what happens to three Penang Sukma weightlifters whose fathers have played a pivotal role in the progress of their daughters.

Siti Maryam, a Form Four student of SMK Sri Mutiara, and siblings Logassree, 16, and Thurgashree, 12, have a lot to thank their fathers, Mustaffa and Thanabalasingam respectively, for their tremendous encouragement and support in a sport which many girls shun away.

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Siti Maryam training under the watchful eyes of coach Xiamin.

Penang Sukma weightlifting team manager R. Ramalingam, who is also the Penang Weightlifting Association secretary, said he valued their contributions.

“Mustaffa always brings Siti Maryam on a motorcycle for training without fail. Sometimes when he arrives before the training ends, he would wait patiently and observe the training. He has never interfered with the coaches’ training programmes. Such dedication from parents nowadays is rare and we’re proud of him,” Ramalingam said.

Siti Maryam started off as a school sprinter but during a talent identification programme in March this year, she was encouraged to switch to weightlifting.

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Siti Maryam can always count on her father, Mustaffa, and brother Adam Daniel for support.

“I also play futsal, but now with the Sukma just round the corner, I don’t have time for it. My father is my hero, he is so supportive,” said Siti Maryam, who has a younger brother, Muhamad Adam Daniel.

Mustaffa said he does not mind that his daughter is now concentrating on weightlfiting.

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Logassree (centre) and Thurgashree with their family members – father Thanabalasingam, brother Thirilohgan, mother S. Kavitha and Thanabalasingam’s assistant coach E. Sasheladevi (left) after achieving a Malaysia Book of Records feat in 2015.

“I love sports, so when she wanted to take up weightlifting, I’m all for it. I told her to always follow the coach’s instructions and tips. When you master the right technique, you can lift weights much easier. Most important is that I want my daughter to be happy,” Mustaffa said.

Siti Maryam is now under the wings of Chinese coach Meng Xiamin, who has been hired by the Penang State Sports Council for the past four years. Also under Xiamin’s care are Mohamad Illham Hayazi, a Form Four student of SMK Sungai Nibong, and Muhammad Hazwan Abdul Wahab, 18.

“Siti Maryam has good potential. If she continues to train for the next two years, I’m confident she will win in the next Sukma. She is fortunate to have a father like Mustaffa. Besides working hard, family support is very important,” said Xiamin.

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Logassree on her way to victory in the clean and jerk at the 2016 Sukma in Sarawak.

Logassree and Thurgashree are sure to make heads turn when the weightlifting competition is held at the Dewan Merdeka in Tapah from Sept 13 to 22. In 2015, they were awarded a Malaysia Book of Records certificate for lifting weights at 21kg and 11kg respectively with one finger.

Both will compete in the 48kg snatch, and 48kg clean/jerk events. Logassree won one of the two golds for Penang in the 2016 Sukma in Sarawak. The other gold medallist, Harith Luthfie, who won the men’s 50kg clean/jerk, is now overage.

“I may be their father, but in training, they can only call me master. I treat them the same as other weightlifters. But once at home, they must address me as daddy,” said Thanabalasingam.

Penang, which have entered six girls and four boys for the weightlifting competition, is aiming for one gold and two bronze medals in Tapah.

The team: Team manager – R. Ramalingam, Coaches – Meng Xiamin, M. Thanabalasingam; Athletes: Men: 62kg – Mohamad Illham Hayazi, 77kg – Khairul Iqmal Muqrish Arshad, 85kg – Muhammad Hazwan Abdul Wahab, 94kg – Muhammad Azri Syafiq Suhaimi; Women: 48kg – T. Thurgashree, T. Logassree, 63kg – Anis Syakirah Shamsuri, 69kg – J. Pavithraa Devi, 75kg – Siti Maryam Maisara Mustaffa, 90kg – Nordini Shahira Abdullah.

Source: Buletin Mutiara