SEPANG: Raising funds to finance their trip to Canada was difficult, but their struggles paid off when Malaysia’s men’s team bagged gold while the mixed team grabbed the silver medal at the World Dodgeball Championships in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada on Sept 5.

The championship’s “Most Valuable Player” and men’s team captain Carlos Goonting said some players had to pull out as they could not afford the trip.

“Apart from that, our biggest concern was playing well or staying injury-free to continue competing,” he said.

Klang-born Goonting, 29, said his dodgeball career started in 2014 when he was studying at Sunway University. He and the rest of the squad had to go through an eight-month process of training and selections leading up to the championship.

On the team’s success, he said the medal is just a reflection of the hard work put in as a team.

“Everyone has put in a lot of work and the gold medal for the men’s team is well deserved.

“I am not sure if this is our best at the moment but it does look like we are getting better with each passing year,” he told theSun upon the team’s arrival at the KL International Airport.

Vice-captain of the men’s team Teh Wee Sheng said he forked out RM100,000 of his own money just to carry the Jalur Gemilang.

“We never really had proper support since we started back in 2016, even after winning so many podium finishes on the world stage.

“But thanks to sponsors such as the Better Malaysia Foundation, which agreed to fund us to the tune of RM55,000, part of our financial burden was eased,” he said.

Teh, 27, described the support that the teams received during the competition period as “unbelievable”.

“We stayed up until the wee hours of the morning just to catch our live stream matches.

“I saw the comments on streams and social media. This is why the home fans are the best and make me want to play at the highest level possible and put on a good show.”

A player from the mixed team, Norm Adam Simoneit, said for the past few years, the World Dodgeball Championship has always been held at the other end of the world, so raising funds has been difficult for some of the players.

With the mixed team achieving silver, Simoneit said he is proud of his team, especially as this is the first year a mixed category was added to the competition.

“The bar has been set high for upcoming championships but we are always up for any challenge.”

Another mixed team player, Ng Ying Shuang, 26, said while she also struggled financially like the rest, she had an elbow injury about two months before the championships and was worried that she could not recover in time. Fortunately, the injury did not present a problem during the games.

“We are aiming to win the upcoming championships. The next one will be held in Kuala Lumpur in April. We are aiming to be a household name in the sport in Southeast Asia and globally,” she said.