Fandi Ahmad's daughter is actually a sprint champion

2 January 2013 / 3 years 9 months ago

Source: The Straits TimesA year ago, she was a novice on the track, taking up sprinting only because the primary school she joined after returning from Indonesia did not have football and tennis teams.But in four months, Iman Fandi Ahmad, the only daughter of Singapore's former football captain, was the national primary schools' 100m champion.Now, she is the latest member of her family to enrol in the Singapore Sports School (SSP) after elder brothers Irfan and Ikhsan, who are both strikers in the school's football team.At 3.30pm yesterday, mother Wendy Jacobs, looking radiant and showing no ill effects after an operation to remove a brain tumour in June last year, parked Team Fandi's Toyota MPV at the SSP's Olympus Lodge, the boarding house for students.And out came her five children - 15-year-old Irfan, Ikhsan, 14, Iman, 13, and their younger brothers Ilhan (10) and Iryan (6)."I'm very excited about life in the sports school," Iman, who is also a Grade 5 ballerina, said as her mother helped to unpack and make her bed in a room she will share with four other students."I have many friends who study here and it will be great to meet them every day."A delighted Jacobs, 38, described how Iman, who loves tennis and plays football as a defender, surprised her parents with her hidden talent in sprinting.She told The Straits Times: "Her primary school (CHIJ Our Lady of the Nativity) didn't offer football and tennis as CCAs (co-curricular activities). Fandi and I wondered how we could get her to stay sporty."We eventually met Margaret Oh (national women's sprint coach) last January and Iman trained three times a week at Bishan Stadium."On April 19 last year, Iman won the 100m final in the 53rd National Inter-Primary School Track and Field Championships in 13.68sec. She also won a bronze in the 200m in 28.99sec."Iman has always been fast," said Jacobs, who was a school sprinter in her native South Africa. "But her results have been really quite stunning and surprising. Fandi and I are really proud of her and even more happy that she is enjoying athletics."In a telephone interview, the 50-year-old Fandi, who was across the Causeway coaching Malaysian Super League side Johor Darul Takzim but will be back to drive youngest son Iryan to ACS (Junior) to begin the first day of Primary 1 this morning, added:"Before, she was more interested in ballet and gymnastics and being the only girl surrounded by four boys, she was very quiet. I'm very happy that she is now in the sports school as she can mix around and make new friends."Such is Iman's dedication to her new-found passion after trading racquet and studs for spikes, that she has trained year round, even during the Primary School Leaving Examination, to stay in form.But having famous parents does increase the pressure, as Irfan, who wears the No.17 jersey like Fandi did, revealed to The Sunday Times last year, when he talked about being heckled by opponents.But Jacobs believes that her teenagers have dealt with it well, saying: "As the children get older, they learned to accept that people will say things because of who their dad is."But I'm a proud and privileged mother who can say that Irfan, Ikhsan and Iman have got into the Sports School purely on their own merit and not because they are Fandi's kids."Iman is proud of her family too, saying: "I think it's very cool to be Fandi's daughter. When we go out as a family, people recognise my dad. That makes me feel so proud of him."

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