Cover Photo: Under Armour

Read about this incredible athlete's story of resilience and determination leading up to the SEA Games after tearing her ACL in June 2020

Bringing the best of the region together, the SEA Games is one of the sporting events that every athlete looks forward to every two years. Last year, the highly-anticipated competition was postponed due to pandemic restrictions. After a delay of six months, it will finally be resuming with an opening ceremony in Hanoi on May 12. 

The road to the SEA Games has been particularly long and difficult for Malaysian sprinter Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli too, as she raced to recover from surgery for a painful ACL knee surgery in order to qualify for the Games. The 28-year-old athlete and Under Armour ambassador sits down with Tatler to recount her experiences overcoming adversity. She also shares her goals at the Games where she will be running the 100m and 200m sprints as well as the 4 x 100m relay. 

See also: SEA Games 2022: Malaysian Swimmer Welson Sim is Going for Gold

Tell us more about your journey leading up to the SEA Games. 

It has been a tough journey to the SEA Games for me. I had to undergo a knee surgery, leaving me with only eight months to train. I set a goal, decided to focus my efforts on training, and tried at all costs to prevent further injuries. My efforts paid off because I got my running rhythm back and qualified to represent Malaysia in this year's Games. 

I am grateful that I managed to get my running rhythm back and qualify for the SEA Games after my knee surgery.
Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli

Do you still have to follow pandemic restrictions during your training?

Yes, there is a system that each athlete has to follow in order to train safely at the national training camp as Covid-19 is still very much out there. I had to be quarantined and was prohibited from leaving the camp; and we maintained social distancing from other athletes. 

See also: Malaysian Winter Athletes Jeffrey Webb and Julian Yee Share Their Fondest Olympic Memories

How are you staying motivated as you train for the upcoming Games?

My family and friends—including my Under Armour family—have been my pillar of strength. When I was still rehabilitating from my surgery, they encouraged me to not give up and were incredibly supportive during my recovery. 

Apart from their emotional support, I was grateful for Under Armour's generosity in providing scientifically-engineered performance gear and equipment to help with my training for the SEA Games. I cannot stress enough how important performance gear is to every single athlete because they are designed for their specific sport with a specific purpose. As a sprinter, my running shoes are a part of me. Under Armour's new lightweight UA Flow Velociti Wind 2 with snappy cushioning is ideal for preventing any further injuries during my training. 

What do you hope to achieve at the SEA Games 2022?

My target is to break my personal best in all the three competitions that I am in.

It will be your first time in Hanoi. What are you most looking forward to visiting, if you have time?

Yes, this will mark my first trip to Vietnam! I am definitely looking forward to checking out the beautiful views of Halong Bay.

NOW READ

Malaysian National Cyclist Azizulhasni Awang Undergoes Heart Surgery

Retired National Gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi Reflects on Her Career

5 High-Tech Fitness Gadgets to Upgrade Your Workout

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.