Plucky SibuJaya girl eager to get back to training after winning bronze at 20th Para Sukma

The love and support from Mathew and Rose for their daughter Sheirviana has encouraged her to rise above her condition and make a name for herself in her beloved game of boccia.

SIBU, Nov 8: Sheirviana Mathew is a positive example of how discipline and grit will get you to the finish line, no matter how challenging the road ahead is.

According to a press statement today, she won a bronze medal during the recent 20th Para Malaysian Games (Sukma) in Kuala Lumpur and she is eager to get back to her training at Azman Hashim Community Sports Centre in SibuJaya here.

Her other bronze and silver medals were earnee during the National Boccia Games Circuit I and II in Kuala Lumpur earlier this year.

Sheirviana’s face lights up with a megawatt smile whenever she talks about her beloved sport of boccia – a precision ball sport similar to bocce. The game was initially designed for people with cerebral palsy but has since gained popularity amongst people with a wide range of other disabilities.

The third of four siblings is an inspiration with her sunny disposition. Her parents Mathew Galang and Rose Galau could not be prouder of their plucky 24-year-old daughter.

Mathew, a logistics company driver said he looked to his daughter for inspiration when burdened by challenges. “She is always smiling. Except when we cannot find the time to bring her for her boccia training,” he said with a chuckle.

Sheirviana in action during one of the games.

Sheirviana’s love for boccia was born when her parents brought her to watch members of the Sibu Spinal Cord Injury Association play the game at Star Megamall. “We usually bring her to the mall on weekends for leisure. And that was where we saw people with cerebral palsy playing boccia,” Mathew said.

At the association’s invitation, she began playing and took a liking to it. It opened a whole new world that was previously shut to her.

As her skills improved, she was drawn deeper into the game and wanted to practice more. However, Mathew’s line of work meant he could only bring his daughter from time to time. And buying her a set of her own boccia ramp and balls was out of the question as it would cost between RM18,000 to RM20,000.

However, a good Samaritan – a doctor from Kuching – came to the rescue when he saw Sheirviana’s commitment to the game and donated his son’s pre-loved set to the plucky girl.

“We are so grateful to the good doctor because this donation enabled my daughter to immerse herself in the game and not only during irregular weekends when I am off-duty,” Mathew said.

A brand new set of boccia ramps and balls would run into the region of RM18,000 to RM20,000 – a figure that is out of reach to Mathew as he strives to find ways and means to find the a new set for his daughter.

With the gift, came a new set of challenges as Sheirviana could only practice at home or at some of SibuJaya’s commercial precinct five-foot ways.

“All these were not suitable due to the ground surface which may damage the costly balls,” Mathew explained.

Good fortune again smiled on the family when they found out that the brand new stadium donated by Tan Sri Azman Hashim came with an indoor sports hall with rubberised flooring.

“That’s exactly the type of flooring we would love to practice on,” Mathew said and went about seeking out the people behind the community sports centre. Again, fortune smiled on the courageous as Mathew was met with support from Amcorp Group, the interim caretaker of the sports centre.

“They were very understanding and supportive and soon Sheirviana was training there regularly,” he said. With all these opportunities to train instead of doing it in her home’s living room or five-foot ways, Mathew said it went a long way in helping his daughter improve her game and medal prospects.

“I must thank Azman Hashim Community Sports Centre for being so inclusive in their outlook, which has opened the door to such wonderful facilities for Sheirviana to train,” he said.

“Our whole family was also invited to a recent concert at the community sports centre and given front-row seats. That was very kind of them and Sheirviana was so happy to watch the concert from her VIP area,” Mathew said with a smile.

Sheirviana and her family were pleasantly surprised when Amcorp’s COO Azlan Baqee Abdullah made special arrangements for them to be seated at the front row during a recent concert at Azman Hashim Community Sports Centre.

On the future of his daughter in a sport that is the fastest growing disability sport in the world, Mathew’s wishlist is on finding a new set of ramps and balls for her. “The price is way out of our reach. We can only hope fortune will smile on her and a benefactor may come her way,” he said.

But for now, the loving father said they were already grateful for all the blessings that have come their way. — DayakDaily