(Back row: L to R) Poon Qianmin Evangeline, Tan Hui Ying Jowie, Fariza Begum Bte Mohamad Zabir, Tang Wynne Xin Yi, Lim Pei Fang Daphne, Goh Woan Lin, Ong Hui Hui, Vanessa Lim Jia Mei, Lim Pei Ting Felicia, Wee Natalia Clare Yuning, Suhaidah Bte Mohd Yusof
(Front row: L to R) Wileen Ong Pan Ling, Sri Syafizah Bte Safii (Captain), Yeung E-Liz, Heng Hui-Shan, Jaime Cheong (Coach), Nur Harilyn Bte Mohd Tahir, Lim Li Hua Cally, Rury Narita Bte Omar, Tan Jean Lynn Laura (Photo by Singapore Floorball Association)
It was a great honour for me to catch up with our Team Singapore floorballer, Fariza Begum, to learn more about the sport and her sporting journey.
Fariza first picked up floorball in 2006 under the guidance of her teacher, Mr Daniel Wee. Having been in the sport for eight years now, she is a seasoned athlete who has represented our country at many competitions. She was part of the Singapore Women’s Floorball team that clinched Gold at the 2013 SEA Games as a demonstration sport in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. She also represented the Republic at the World University Championship 2014 in Singapore where the team finished fourth.
What are the basics of floorball?
Fariza: It is an indoor sport with 5 outfield players and a goalkeeper to start off the match. Each team can register up to 20 players and it is on a rotational basis. Each match comprise three periods of 20 minutes each, totalling an hour.
What do you enjoy most as a goalkeeper?
Fariza: Being a goalkeeper, I relish the challenge of preventing the opponents from scoring. When I see the opponent coming, I do not back down. It is especially challenging while training with the men’s team where their powerful shots have left plenty of bruises on me! But this only makes me stronger.
Did you ever expect yourself to make it to national team?
Fariza: Honestly, this was beyond my imagination. I only picked up floorball as a recreational sport. However, after watching the World Floorball Championships held in Singapore in 2005, I realized those players were about the same age as me and if they could do it, so could I. From then on, I worked towards my goal of representing my country. I was rejected in 2008 when I attended the national team’s trial but I did not give up and continued to train even harder. My hard work and determination eventually paid off when I made it into the team a year later. This would not be possible without my former coach Mr Amir Hamzah who supported me with the intensive trainings.
What are some of the major setbacks and how did you overcome them?
Fariza: My greatest setback was the different injuries that I had suffered in my sporting career. I had several ankle sprains and other physical injuries which affected my training and performance. Each time, it took a lot of hard work to come back and hit the peak again. While I was eager to train and be back on the court as soon as possible, I needed to ensure that I have the sufficient rest and proper therapy before rushing myself out of injury. The support I have gotten from my teammates and friends were important for me to overcome these setbacks.
Team Singapore floorballer Fariza in action (Photo by Ryan Neo)
How do you prepare yourself before a match?
Fariza: A day before the match, I will watch floorball videos of my goalkeeping idol, Henri Toivoneimi from Finland and try to visualise what might happen in my own game. Right before the game, I would listen to my favourite playlist in my iPod to calm my nerves and get myself ready.
What are your thoughts about representing Singapore at the 28th SEA Games on home soil next year?
Fariza: I feel really pumped up with SEA Games coming back to Singapore after 22 years! It will be a really special moment for us to play in front of a huge home crowd. Having our fellow countrymen cheering us on will definitely bring our performance to another level. This will also be a good opportunity for floorball to garner more attention and awareness. Hopefully, more people will come forward to pick up the sport. Or at the very least, support us at our matches.
Do you have any words of advice for our young local floorballers?
Fariza: No dream is too small. Always start off with a goal in mind and work towards achieving it. Take it one step at a time and keep learning from other players to improve yourself. Never ever give up and you will get there one day.