A true underdog story

13 Nov 2018 / 17:03 H.

HOW DO you like throwing balls at someone as a mean of sports?

Think of it as a way to channel your frustration or anger and you might actually be really good at it after going through professional training.

Jokes aside, it’s not as simple as it seems.

Team captain Muhamad Heidy bin Mohd Yusoff and his men’s team under the Malaysia Dodgeball Federation has once again bagged the silver medal at the World Dodgeball Cup 2018 for the second time consecutively.

They have defeated 10-year champion holder, England but unfortunately came short in the finals against Austria.

The 28-year-old who is a team-building coach by day and a dodgeball player by night said: “I’ve always been a sports person since I was young. I immediately got hooked when I was first introduced to dodgeball back in college.”

Please share with us your journey to the Dodgeball World Cup.

Our very first participation in the Dodgeball World Cup was in 2016 in Manchester, England took our opponents by surprise.

We went as underdogs because nobody in the European countries had a clue about us, they didn’t expect us to do so well in which we came in second in that year.

Even though we lost to England who is a 10-year champion holder, still meant a lot to us and it just means we can do so much more.

Two years later, we are back playing in the Dodgeball World Cup 2018 in the grandest stage of all in Madison Square Garden, New York.

It was a really tough competition because everyone stepped up their game to earn the title of world champion.

In the quarter-final, we came head to head with the host country (USA), and us being in a country surrounded by their supporters cheering for them, it was challenging.

We thought we wouldn’t stand a chance against them, but somehow we just knew we had to in order to make it to the next round.

We managed to pull through and advanced to the semi-finals against the world champion (England).

At this stage, the odds were against us but once again we made a comeback by one point and defeated them.

The feeling was really special, we knew we weren’t doing it for ourselves but for the country we are representing.

Were there any challenges throughout the journey?

It has never been easy because each of us is not full-time athletes.

Like any other person, we have our day jobs and only at night we are free to train, sometimes even until midnight.

The same routine repeats itself every day for the past two years.

A lot of people came up to us and expressed how impressed they are, but what they see are only the results, they don’t see past the surface into what we put ourselves through in our daily lives; the challenges and the sacrifices we have to make.

To train for two whole years just for that one short moment, it’s still worth it.

It’s an experience I would never trade for anything.

How often do you train?

We train six times a week including personal and team training.

Myself as one of the co-founders of Malaysia Dodgeball Federation are really serious about what we do, hence we tend to go all out when it comes to training.

We managed to score a partnership with Angkatan Tentera Malaysia in 2016 and after that with Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia to train with them.

Needless to say, it was an eye-opener for all of us to have the chance to train together, there is no one else in records that have done that.

How is the relationship like between each team players?

Even in corporate jobs, chances are we see our own colleagues way more than our families.

Its the same for us dodgeball players, we spent so much time together that we see each other as family.

And like all family, there will always be arguments but that aside, we truly are like a family.

You can have a fight with a friend and call off the friendship, but you can’t do that with family.

How supportive are your parents?

As you may know, the typical Asian parents’ mindset goes along the lines of study well and then get a job that is worthwhile, so it was really hard for my parents.

At one point, it took a toll on my personal business and possibly my health because I’m not only a trainer, a coach, a dodgeball player but I’m also the co-founder of Malaysia Dodgeball Federation so there is a lot of administrative work which needs to be done.

I do understand my parents’ worries, they are the one that pushes me and got me better, they are my driving force behind my success and I’m ever so grateful for them.

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