Janatul Naim Bin Mohd Noor might be 22 years young, but he already aspires to represent Malaysia in multisports in the near future.
Popularly known as Jaii, the Kuala Lumpur born is also an Officer Cadet in Military Training Academy (ALK) while studying at the National Defence University (UPNM). Family indeeds forms the backbone for this young potential athlete. Inspired by sister Nur Izzati Sima who runs marathons and brother Muhammad Firdaus who runs cross country, Jaii goes a few steps further by pursuing multisports.
ToughASIA: What inspired you to take up running?
Jaii: When I was in the foundation programme, I was very unfit and but wanted to contribute as a representative of the defence university.
My mindset was, “Don’t ask what the sport can do for you, but ask yourself what you can do for the sport”.
So, the first thing I did was to join the university’s club for Extreme Sports known as Kelab Sukan Lasak UPNM (KSL UPNM). The university is Malaysia’s top ranked public tertiery institution (IPTA) for multisport races including triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon, swimathon, half and full marathon.
ToughASIA: What keeps you motivated to train now, even when there are no races?
Jaii: I am dedicated to triathlon and duathlon. Even without races, I keep telling myself to keep on grinding and aiming higher everyday.
Eliud Kipchoge once said “Only the disciplined ones in life are free. If you are undisciplined, you are slave to your moods and your passions.”
Also, I have sporting idols to reflect upon and keep me motivated. One is Shahrom Abdullah, the fastest Malaysian in IRONMAN Malaysia 2017 and 2019 and also was once among the top 15 Elite athletes at the Powerman Zofingen Long Distance World Championship. Another is Indonesian Jauhari Johan, individual duathlan gold medallist and team mixed Relay triathlon bronze medallist at the 2019 SEA Games in Philippines.
ToughASIA: Where are your favourite running and cycling locations?
Jaii: My favourite running routes are of course on any track and trails too. For cycling, I love epic rides to hilly terrain like Gohtong Jaya, Fraser Hill, Bukit Hantu and Genting Peras.
ToughASIA: What is the most memorable race you have competed in?
Jaii: It was my first ever duathlon race, Southern Duathlon in 2019. I had an opportunity to race and compete with my idol Shahrom Abdullah. I had leg cramps when transitioning to the bike. I was able to finish third placing for my very first time podium position in a standard duathlon distance category (Male Open) and fourth place for overall results.
ToughASIA: What is the most difficult part about running and how do you overcome it?
Jaii: It is to keep my momentum and motivation in my daily trainings and also to clock the weekly mileage. To overcome it, I stay positive and always want to be better than yesterday, and aim higher.
ToughASIA: We saw that you also cycle and participated in Powerman. Do you have any more plans for multisport or triathlon?
Jaii: Yes! After participating in the duathlon, I had always wanted to do triathlon. I went for swim sessions just to learn the freestyle. I also stay updated on upcoming national trials for SEA Games and hope to be a Malaysian national athlete in multisports one day.
ToughASIA: Do you participate in any sports events in the army?
Jaii: The hardest multisports event I joined at UPMN was the Warriors Challenge 4.0 in 2019. It was held at the Sungai Besi Camp including Bukit Besi, with an overall elevation of 700m.
The challenge was the only military concept obstacles run in Malaysia and offering the leisure category of open (11.2km) and elite (22.1km). The obstacles including commando crawl, tri-level wall, jet float, stepping stone, pyramid cross-over, dark tunnel and also trail.
That was my first event in multisports and also my first podium, 5th placed overall in the Elite category.
ToughASIA: What keeps you going into 2021 and beyond as a multisport athlete?
Jaii: Although there are many restrictions in this period, I am totally dedicated to managing time to do sports training while balancing with studies and military routines. I am really looking to any races out there – both live and virtual ones.