M'sian Track Star Shereen Makes History By Winning Women's Indoor 400M Title In The US
On Saturday, 12 March, a 23-year-old Malaysian runner won the 400m race in women's indoor track and field campaign at the 2022 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II Championships in Pittsburg
Shereen Samson Vallabouy came on top after besting nearly 300 teams and over 1,000 individual athletes, all of whom were vying for the 400m championship, according to US-based community paper Winona Post.
Shereen capped a record-breaking senior season in the indoor track and field campaign by turning in a time of 53.79 seconds to win the event in the Robert W Plaster Centre at Pittsburg State University.
And in doing so, the 23-year-old set a new Malaysian record by becoming the first Malaysian female runner to go under 54 seconds in an indoor 400m race.
She is now also the first international student-athlete to accomplish this feat.
Shereen is the youngest daughter of former national athlete Samson Vallabouy and former Olympian Josephine Mary Singarayar
While her mother is proud of her success in the US, she reminded Shereen to stay humble.
"I believe she is doing great thanks to her humility, and that must continue. More achievements will come her way if she focuses on training and also disciplines in life," The Star quoted Josephine as saying.
"She has been in the States since 2019, and we can see the progress she is making. As a mother, whatever she does, whether sports or academics, I just want her to do her best. If she does that, I will always be proud."
Previously, Shereen represented Malaysia in the 2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore, where she won bronze in the 400m.
She will not be part of the 2021 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games that are scheduled to take place from 12 to 23 May this year in Hanoi as the dates are clashing with the NCAA outdoor competitions
Shereen, who is in her senior year at Winona State University, could be considered for the 2022 Commonwealth Games from 28 July to 8 August, and the 2022 Asian Games from 10 to 25 September.
National athletics squad head coach Mohd Manshahar Abdul Jalil described Shereen's achievement as sensational, adding that she can break the outdoor 400m Malaysian record of 52.56 by Rabia Abdul Salam.
"Shereen needs to pass the qualifying mark for the Commonwealth Games which is under 52 seconds while for the Asian Games under 53 seconds," Manshahar said, adding that she has the potential.
Meanwhile, the Agong and Raja Permaisuri expressed joy and congratulated Shereen for bringing glory to Malaysia on the world stage
In a post on the official Istana Negara Facebook page yesterday, 16 March, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah showered praise on the 23-year-old champion.
"Their Majesties expressed hope that the excellent achievement will spur her and all national athletes to continue to work hard to achieve success and glorify Malaysia's name in future championships. Their Majesties wish Shereen good luck and pray that she will enjoy continuous success," read the post.
Taking to her own Instagram account, Shereen shared that she is grateful for the support her teammates and coaches have given her
Similarly, Malaysian waterskiing prodigy Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah also reigned supreme at the Moomba Masters Championships: