PETALING JAYA: National runner Shereen Samson Vallabouy, who is facing financial woes to continue her training in the United States, may soon see a way out as the youth and sports ministry is working out a plan.
Youth and sports minister Hannah Yeoh, who had a meeting with the runner on May 4, said her ministry was in the process of resolving the issue.
“The youth and sports ministry is working out the financial support for her (Shereen),” she said via a brief text message today.
Shereen won the 400m gold medal at the 32nd SEA Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia recently. It was the first time that a Malaysian had won the event at the SEA Games since 1999.
She clocked a time of 52.53s to clinch gold ahead of Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Huyen (53.27s) and Nguyen Thi Hang (53.84s).
On April 15, Shereen set a new national record in the women’s 400m, with a time of 51.8s, at the 63rd Annual Mt SAC Relays Athletics Championship in California, US.
The previous national record of 52.56s was set by the late Rabia Abdul Salam 30 years ago.
Following this feat, Shereen’s mother Josephine Mary told FMT that her daughter was facing problems to finance her training and stay in Florida as the sponsorship from the Better Malaysia Foundation (BMF) is expected to last only until December.
Commenting on Shereen’s excellent performance, Hannah was reported to have said in April that her ministry wanted to provide support to athletes like Shereen.
“However, the form of assistance that will be given is still being discussed at the ministry level,” she added.
On another matter, Hannah said the ministry is working out a plan to reward the athletes who won medals for the nation at the recent SEA Games.
“We are working something out,” she said briefly to the media when met at the Graduan Aspire Career Fair 2023 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre today.
Malaysia managed to obtain 34 gold, 45 silver, and 97 bronze medals in the games that concluded on May 17. Yeoh had previously set a target of 40 gold medals for the national contingent.
It was Malaysia’s worst-ever performance in the regional meet, finishing seventh in the medal standings, a notch down compared with the last SEA Games two years ago.