International Gymnast Online's annual series of holiday-themed features continues with this profile on Malaysia's Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, who looks ahead to her potential berth to next summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Abdul Hadi reflects modestly on her 2015 successes, including a six-medal winning performance at the Southeast Asian Games, a spot at the Olympic test event in Rio de Janeiro next April, and recognition as the United Malays National Organization's 2015 Icon Award winner for sports during a ceremony this month at the UMNO General Assembly.
Farah Ann Abdul Hadi (Malaysia) at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow
"Looking back, the most memorable moments would be the team gold medal and the floor exercise gold medal at the SEA Games," said Abdul Hadi, who also placed second all-around, and third on vault, uneven bars and balance beam, at the Games held in Singapore in June. "The team gold meant a great deal because the last time Malaysia won a team gold was in 2001. I was very happy to win the medal with this team because we have been teammates for a very long time and trained very hard for the competition. The floor gold medal was amazing because floor is my favorite event."
Also high on Abdul Hadi's list of special moments of 2015 is her nomination to the Olympic test event, which will serve as the second and last qualifying competition for next summer's Rio Games.
"Being selected for the test event was really memorable for me because it meant that I was one step closer to my dreams of qualifying for the Olympics," said Abdul Hadi, whose sister, Katrina Ann Abdul Hadi, won the duet gold medal and team silver medal in synchronized swimming at the 2015 SEA Games.
Abdul Hadi placed 69th all-around, and first among the three Malaysian female gymnasts, in qualifications at this fall's world championships in Glasgow. The Glasgow worlds was the first qualification competition for Rio.
With qualification to the Rio Games at stake in April, Abdul Hadi is eager to finesse her routines during the coming months.
"I will be focusing on cleaning up my routines and getting my E-score higher in order to have a better score overall," she said. "Especially on bars and beam, because I have the highest D-score on those events and have recently increased my difficulty with new skills - on bars with a new double layout dismount, and on beam with a flic-flac layout connection series. I will also be focusing on strength and stamina training in order for me to be at my peak performance level for the test event."
Once at the test event, Adbul Hadi said consistency will be key for Olympic qualification.
"I think that I would need to hit all my routines and, most importantly, not make a major mistake during the test event," she said. "I need to make sure that I am in top shape in order for me to perform my routines at my best capabilities."
Born May 3, 1994, Abdul Hadi lives in Subang Jaya, Selangor, and trains at National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur. Her head coach is Ukrainian native Nataliya Sinkova, and her assistant coach is '04 Malaysian male Olympian Ng Shu Wai.
Her full name, Farah Ann Binti Adbul Hadi, consists of her given name (Farah), her mother's maiden name (Ann), the Muslim word for "daughter of" (Binti) and her father's family name (Abdul Hadi).
Abdul Hadi's other best results include seventh place all-around at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, Korea; sixth place all-around, fifth on vault and sixth on floor exercise at the 2015 University Games in Gwangju, Korea; and eighth place all-around and sixth on floor exercise at the 2015 Asian championships in Hiroshima.
Before launching her 2016 training and competition agenda, Abdul Hadi looks forward to ringing in the new year with loved ones.
"I will probably spend my New Year's with my family and friends," she said. "We will be going to a paint festival and then watch the fireworks together in Kuala Lumpur."
Abdul Hadi has specific ambitions, in gymnastics and in her personal life.
"My goal for 2016 would of course be to qualify for the Olympic Games," she said. "It has been my dream since I was eight years old. Also, I would like to get my Yurchenko double twist on vault ready for competition. Out of the gym, my goals would probably be to finish my degree and spend more time with my family."
Abdul Hadi is also determined to fulfill her New Year's resolution, which centers on gymnastics.
"My New Year's resolution would be to train hard, focus on my goals and qualify for the Olympics," she told IG.