HER date with destiny is scheduled for tomorrow and Fatehah Mustapa can't wait to lock horns with the world's best keirin riders.
Fatehah Mustapa is all charged up.
The nerves that she felt have long been banished and the 23-year-old from Terengganu is raring to make her Olympics debut at the London 2012 Velodrome.
"I have to admit I was very nervous initially about competing against the world's best in the Olympics as I had doubts on whether I would be able to match them," said Fatehah at the velodrome yesterday. "I gave it some real thought and came to the conclusion that by qualifying for the Olympics, I was among the top 18 keirin riders in the world and this motivated me. I am here and I have to produce my best as I want to remember my Olympic debut for the right reasons."
Team manager Datuk Naim Mohamad had said that Fatehah's outlook had matured upon arriving in London and the rider agreed.
"I am rubbing shoulders with the top riders and I have to believe in myself. I may not be at their level just yet but anything can happen in a race and once it starts, I must only focus on myself and not worry about who my opponents are.
"My target is the final, which if I can achieve, will be a major honour. The threat will come from Britain, obviously, and Australia but they, too, will be under pressure and the keirin is such that anyone who makes the final has a chance of winning."
Fatehah had the perfect tune-up in Germany before the Games, finishing third in the keirin and sixth in the sprint in a warm-up competition and is injury-free.
"I feel very good, mentally and physically, and I am ready for the competition to start. I have worked long for this and I don't want to waste the opportunity."
The women's keirin will be decided tomorrow and on Saturday, Azizulhasni Awang begins his sprint campaign which he hopes will end with an appearance in Monday's final before turning his attention to the keirin on Tuesday.