Farah Ann Hadi made a long-held dream of qualifying for the Olympics come true when she confirmed her spot for Tokyo next year at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart on Saturday.
While Farah finished 59th in the women’s individual all-around qualification on 49.898 points, far more important is her 16th place in the list of top 20 gymnasts who had yet to secure an individual quota spot through the team event.
Farah’s teammates Tan Ing Yueh and Tracie Ang finished 90th (48.299) and 107th ( 47.399) respectively.
A four-time Sea Game gold medalist, Farah said she had been dreaming since she was eight of one day competing at the Olympics after becoming the first Malaysian gymnast to qualify since 2004.
“I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that I qualified for the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020,” Farah, 25, posted on social media on Sunday. “It has been my dream since I was eight-years-old and to see it become a reality is an indescribable feeling.
“After coming so close in Rio (2016) and not qualifying, it was devastating. I am incredibly thankful and grateful to so many people in my journey to get to this moment.”
“To my coaches Ms Nataliya (Sinkova) and Ng Shu Wai. You have pushed me, guided me and believed in me and my dreams. There are no words to describe how thankful I am for you,” added Farah, who also expressed her gratitude to her teammates, family and others to have supported her.
“Thank you to all of you who have supported us, cheered for us and most importantly believed in us. Thank you Malaysia. Tokyo 2020 here we come!”
Only two Malaysian gymnasts have ever qualified for the Olympics before with Farah, who missed out on a medal at the World Universiade in Italy this year after finishing fourth in the floor exercise, set to follow in the footsteps of Au Li Yen (2000) and Shu Wai (2004) when she travels to Tokyo.
Farah joins archer Khairul Anuar Mohamad, sailors Khairulnizam Afendy and Nur Shazrin Latif and divers Nur Dhabitah Sabri, Wendy Ng Yan Yee, Pandelela Rinong and Leong Mun Yee in securing quota spots for Tokyo.