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Teen sisters make history by clinching bronze medals in cricket at Games

KOTA BARU: Zumika Azmi and Sasha Azmi have become heroines of the orang asli community after winning bronze medals in cricket at the Kuala Lumpur 2017 SEA Games.
Sisters Zumika, 19, and Sasha, 17, are believed to be the first among the community in Kelantan to represent the nation in such a prestigious regional sporting event and win medals.
Their father Azmi Badul travelled from deep in the jungles of Gua Musang to Kinrara Academy to watch his children in action during the third-place playoff on Monday, in which the Malaysian team beat Singapore by eight wickets.
“My daughters have proven that it is possible to tap orang asli talents in sport when given the opportunity.
“They are now an inspiration to the younger generation of orang asli to rise and show their talents in various sports,” said the girls’ proud 42-year-old father.
The sisters were introduced to the sport while studying at SK Kuala Betis in Gua Musang, a five-hour drive from their mother’s home in Pos Gob.
“After Year Six, they continued their secondary education at SMK Clifford in Kuala Lipis, Pahang, where they were given more chances to sharpen their skills.
“I only get to see my children once a year when they are back home for the long holidays. But the sacrifices are worth it, as they have now done the nation proud,” said the father of 13 children, whose ages range from eight months to 25 years.
Although Azmi could not return to his Kampung Jader home in Pos Simpor as buses to Kelantan are fully booked until Hari Raya Haji on Friday, he was happy to make the long journey to the Klang Valley to show support for his children.
“I will stay over at my sister’s house in Bidor until bus seats are available again,” said Azmi, who makes a living doing odd jobs in the village.
Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Kelantan chairman Mustafa Along said although many orang asli live in remote areas without water and electricity, news of achievements of members of the community would still spread like wildfire, thanks to mobile technology.
“Some of us recorded the games on our mobile phones. During gatherings, we would show the videos to others,” said Mustafa.
“News also spreads by word of mouth. People are proud of the two sisters.
“As far as I know, no other orang asli in Kelantan have gone that far in sports. Some of the guys with potential quit halfway.
“These girls have shown grit and determination. Their perseverance paid off.”
Sasha, who is taking the SPM examination this year, said she was willing to spend more time on the field for the love of sport.
“We can achieve our dreams if we try hard enough,” she said.
Zumika hoped to see more orang asli youth representing the state and country in sports.
“We are proud to be Malaysians,” she said.
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