Rower Aisyah's Olympic bid short of support
Singapore rower out to raise support for 2016 Olympic bid
She is eyeing a spot in the women's single sculls event at the Rio Olympics this August.
First though, Saiyidah Aisyah will have the formidable task of finishing in the top seven in the event at the Asian & Oceania Continental Qualification Regatta in South Korea, from April 22 to 25.
And that mission became more complicated, because the only rowing event in the women's lightweight category at this year's Olympics is the double sculls - and she doesn't have a partner.
Determined as ever, Aisyah made the switch to the Open weight category last August.
And the 2013 SEA Games rowing champion and 2015 double bronze medallist, is confident of winning a ticket to Rio.
"(I am) very confident," she told The New Paper yesterday.
"I have put in a lot of time and effort in this journey and I plan to continue to do all that I can from now till the qualifiers, so there will be no reason for me to doubt myself when I race in April."
Money has become a big issue, while she continues to train full-time in Sydney.
The $10,000 that she had amassed for her training in Sydney has been depleted and she owes her landlord rent.
She receives $1,200 through spexTag yearly and has been shortlisted for the Race to Rio 2016 programme.
The programme will be launched to provide financial support for athletes who have qualified or are trying to qualify for the Rio Olympics, and are not under the spexScholarship scheme.
"But I thought it's three months away from my qualifiers, I cannot wait for things to happen for me. I've got to make them happen," she said.
After getting some offers of help from supporters, she decided to turn to crowdfunding, which she thought was "the most efficient and transparent way".
It was not an immediate decision for Aisyah.
"I have been procrastinating this for months and finally decided to launch it when this incident happened:
"I was paying for groceries one day and my card was declined because there was insufficient money. I knew then I had to do something rather than wait around," Aisyah said.
By yesterday, she had managed to raise $4,605 - about half of her target of $9,000.
Of that sum, $2,000 will go to the crowdfunding site, makeachamp.com.
When asked which aspects of her training have changed since she moved to Sydney, Aisyah said: "A lot. It helps to have a group of competitive rowers training with you, pushing you in every training.
"I learnt how to row efficiently although I still haven't mastered the perfect stroke. Also, I've gained plenty of race experiences here."
Her training comprises a two-hour rowing session in the morning, and another one-hour session that she has twice a week, as well as a three-hour gym or cardio session.
All this while dealing with an imbalanced muscle on her shoulders, which she has suffered from rowing.
"It annoys me when I feel a pinch and I have to stop rowing to not aggravate it," said Aisyah.
"But I'm optimistic about the Rio Olympics. The build-up has been good."
I have put in a lot of time and effort in this journey and I plan to continue to do all that I can from now till the qualifiers, so there will be no reason for me to doubt myself when I race in April.
— Saiyidah Aisyah