SIBU: Ruby Lee Jia Lu has set herself a lofty target to become the first Sarawak woman to win the long jump at the Malaysia Games (Sukma).
The 19-year-old former student of Miri’s Riam Road Secondary School (RRSS) knows it’s going to be tough but she remains unfazed.
“I will go for it and will try my best to achieve the huge breakthrough for myself and also for the glory of the state,” she told The Borneo Post.
Sarawak’s forte in track and field is in throwing events.
State throwers – most famously national hammer record holders Jackie Wong and Grace Wong – have won multiple gold medals in Sukma through the years.
A Sukma gold is much less expected in the jumps and unprecedented in the women’s long jump. But the 163cm (5’4”) tall girl is game to go for it and eager to stamp her mark.
“I am ready to take up the challenge and face the pressure,’ she said.
Ruby made her Sukma debut in 2018 when she cleared 5.40m (17’ 9”) for fifth place in Perak.
She improved to 5.72m (18’ 9”) – her personal best – to win at last year’s MSSM National Schools Championships and went on to clear 5.69m to finish third representing Malaysia in the 2019 Asean Schools Meet.
The teenager, trained by State Jumps coach Lim Teck Leong, is aiming for the 6.00m (19’ 8”) mark to be sure of the gold medal in the Johor Sukma which has been postponed to March next year.
She was putting in two training sessions daily at the Miri Sports Stadium before the lockdown on March 18 brought that to an abrupt halt.
She is now forced to do only light exercise, weight lifting and strength conditioning at home plus customised programmes prepared by coach Lim.
Like all athletes she is keeping her fingers crossed waiting for what comes after the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) is lifted on June 9.
“I will wait for instructions from my coach for the green light,’ she said while keeping her focus.
“I just kept thinking about how I will be going for gold no matter when Sukma Johor is going to be held.”