Road to Incheon: Boccia Para Athletes Banking on Tight Partnership
16 October, 2014
Team Singapore Boccia athlete Nurulasyiqah (pictured above) is currently ranked 13th on BISFed World Ranking List for BC3 Individual (Photo by Sport Singapore)
Nurulasyiqah Binte Mohd Taha has achieved many milestones in life, but perhaps none were as significant as being one of the first Singaporean in history to compete in Boccia at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.
In an interview with the Singapore National Paralympic Council in 2012 before she left for London, Nurulasyiqah talked about how being an unknown athlete will work in her favour.
“As a new Paralympian, I’d like to believe that I am relieved of the baggage associated with personal performances at past Games. I have a clean slate to put into motion my plans to outplay the other Boccia players,” she said.
Two years on, she will not be afforded the same luxury by her opponents of being an unknown because since her first Paralympic outing, Nurulasyiqah has taken the world of Boccia by storm, most recently winning two Gold medals at the 2014 ASEAN Para Games.
Nurulasyiqah has shared that her success in the sport was never an individual’s effort or glory. She attributed that to all the people that have supported her in one way or another.
“My main support group consists of my pit crew. They are my coaches, sports assistants, technicians, physiotherapist, family and friends. Without them, I would not be where I am today,” she explains.
An advocate of an inclusive society in Singapore that allows people with disabilities to make full use of their talents, Nurulasyiqah is vocal about how much more can be done for people like her.
“The greatest challenge I have faced in my sporting career is getting more people with disabilities involved in sport. I try to be more active on my Facebook page to share my stories and reach out to more people,” said the 29-year-old who was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
Advocacy will take a backseat for Nurulasyiqah in the meantime as she turns her focus to the upcoming Asian Para Games in South Korea, as on top of her own individual competition, she will be competing in the BC3 pairs with Toh Sze Ning.
Partners Nurulasyiqah and Sze Ning (pictured above) are currently ranked 5th in the world for BC3 Pair. (Photo by Sport Singapore)
The duo came together in 2008 and has forged a strong partnership since then. The pair clinched the Gold medal at the 2014 ASEAN Para Games in Myanmar and is currently ranked seventh in the world.
Competition will be as, if not more, intense this time round, but Sze Ning is unfazed.
“One thing for sure, I will never give up but always give my all for Boccia. I ensure my partnership with Nurulasyiqah will bring glory to Singapore,’ she said.
The 21-year-old, who started her career in Boccia in 2007, hopes to emulate her veteran partner’s achievements and her performances in competitions thus far looks promising.
“The most important item on my wish list is to be able to compete in the Paralympics, like Nurulasyiqah,” she explains.
For now, the cheery woman is working towards that goal by staying in shape throughout the whole year, feeling that being competition ready all the time keeps her focus.
“When I return from my overseas competition, the one thing I must do is nothing else but to continue with more training to prepare myself for the next upcoming event. I want to be ready at all times,” she said.