To celebrate Olympic Day – on June 23 each year – she and three other Olympians gave a talk at SJK (C) Kepong 3 on Wednesday.
The Olympian said she did not expect such an overwhelming response as nearly 900 children filled the school’s badminton hall.
The loudest cheers came during the introduction of former world No. 1 badminton player Datuk Foo Kok Keong. Taekwondo exponent Lee Wan Yuen and hockey player Kevin Nunis joined them to speak to the pupils about their experience as athletes.
“We wanted to do something special for Olympic Day, and Yan Yuen, who teaches taekwondo in this school, helped arrange this event,” said Noraseela, who competed in the 400m hurdles at the 2012 London Olympics.
“I am stunned by the turnout and even more surprised that the pupils wanted to get our autographs. I did not expect that.
“It is a little overwhelming, but I am grateful we managed to do this, as we got to share our experience with so many children.”
Noraseela shared how she was a ‘Jill of all trades’ until her secondary school when a teacher pulled her aside to concentrate on athletics.
“I played badminton, hockey, netball and other sports, but it was only in secondary school that I focused on athletics,” said Noraseela.
“I was a late bloomer as I only represented the country when I was 20-years-old. So, my message to you, students, is that it is never too late to become a national athlete.
“We are here to share our stories, and hopefully, one day, some of you in this hall will go on to represent the country in your favourite sport.”
Noraseela’s speech inspired 11-year-old Abigail Tan. The Standard Five pupil said she was uninterested in sports until hearing the four Olympians speak.
“I am not good at sports but wanted to meet the Olympians. Hearing about their achievements has inspired me,” said Tan.
“I do not have a favourite sport, but I shall try to be more active from now on.”
esides listening to the Olympians, the children had to colour the ‘Olympic rings’ and write about their sporting ambition.
MOA also held a short quiz and gave away three prizes.
Foo, whose son Hao Yu is a Standard Four pupil in SJK (C) Kepong 3, said he was delighted to speak to the children.
“I never expected this response,” said Foo, who competed in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
“I signed so many autographs and answered so many questions. It was wonderful speaking to them.”
Lee, who represented Malaysia at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and Nunis, who played in the 1984 Los Angeles Games, agreed with Foo that they did not expect such an overwhelming response from the pupils.
They said they hoped MOA would arrange more such activities in the future.
“We have several activities planned and hope to reach out to more schools,” said Noraseela.
Meanwhile, the Olympic Council of Malaysia and Education Ministry also organised an Olympic Day celebration at Bukit Jalil Sports School this morning.