Nurul Huda Abdullah Ch’ Su-Lin
Year Inducted: 2004
With precision analogous to that of an astronaut coupled with sheer dedication of a true champion, this swimming personality proves that if you want it so much, you could almost taste it – literally. The SEA Games was her playground as she dominates above all else. In fact, it is only justified that swimming was made to be anchored by her as the world over witnessed her each stroke to victory.
Nurul Huda Abdullah Ch’ Su-Lin was born to Chng Wu and Cindy Wee on July 31, 1972. She displayed her swimming dexterity at the tender age of 11 upon her return home for a training stint in Australia. Her mother, recognizing her child’s ability was saddened by the state of our local sporting facilities and equipment back then that she decided to send her packing to hone her skills at the prestigious A. C. I. Lawrence School in Australia under the tutelage of Coach Findlay. Her mother invested a lot of her time charting her progress, believes that the facilities and scientific approach to sports overseas would make a huge difference for her daughter.
This child prodigy started to cause a ripple of anxiety amongst her rivals when she won five gold medals at a junior meet in Hong Kong and at the Asean age-group championships in 1984 where she won an astonishing 11 gold medals. Later at the 1985 SEA Games held in Bangkok, she was crowned the darling of the nation and the ‘Queen of the Games’ as she breaststroke her way through seven gold medals, just one short of her pre-Games prediction of which her fellow compatriot May Tan beat her for the gold in the 100m butterfly.
Nurul was not heralded as the Queen of the Games for no reason. As a result of her regimented physical training, her distance per stroke was at an astounding rate of perfection where she did just 19-20 for 50m as opposed to 20-22 by others, and maintained it even for the lengthier 400m. She broke existing records in all swim meets she competed and along the way setting a new Asian Games mark in the 400m freestyle. She prolonged her winning streak to dominate the 1987 SEA Games by bringing home seven gold haul and ascertained new marks in five of the events. Consequently, Nurul was sashed with the Sportswoman of the Year award five times ina row from 1985 to 1989; a record that remains concretely solid sans crack until today, be it in the men’s or women’s catergory.
But it was her home game that shown us all what a great athlete she blossomed out to be. At the 1989 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games, Nurul championed her best ever feat when she bagged home to a record of eight gold medals, including for the first time a relay gold in the 4 x 100m medley. Again, the gold should have been hers if it were not for her fellow compatriot May Tan, who swam passed her to cinch into first place in the 100m butterfly.
With 22 gold medals in just three SEA Games outing under her belt (a record remains unreachable still), Nurul Huda is a living proof that no matter how tough it gets, the tough gets going. There is a similarity between a great athlete and a phenomenal actor; they worked extremely hard knowing full well that there is a fruitful reward at the end of the day. Though she might not be in swimming arena creating ripples of danger to her opponents, but we would always remember her for being the Goddess of the Swimming pool as well as her uplifting spirit and passion for her treasured sport.
• Sportswoman of the Year; 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989
• Won 22 gold medals in three SEA Games outing
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