Gabey Goh (Malay mail 19 June 2008)
IT could be said thatmany sons follow in their father’s footsteps, but none does so quite as literally as young Muhammad Syahrulnizam. On June 6, this plucky fouryear- old landed himself a spot in the Malaysian Book of Records for climbing all 2,085 steps of the Kuala Lumpur Tower.
It is a remarkable feat that makes all themore sense when you find out that his father, Utusan photographer Mohd Noor Mat Amin, is a veteran mountaineer who earlier this year set a record of his own for successfully climbing the same tower 30 times in three days.
Speaking to Malay Mail shortly after Syahrulnizam’s conquest of the KL tower, 41-year-old Mohd Noor was happy to recount the day’s events at his home in Bangi, Kuala Lumpur.
“He slept in the car thewhole ride back home,” revealed Mohd Noor, with a hint of fatherly pride.
“During the climb, there was one point where he wanted to give up because it was so hot and stuffy in the tower and there were so many photographers and the added heat from the TV camera lights made it even worse.” But persevere this little climber did and in just one hour and 13 minutes he conquered the tallest tower in the country. Fueled by some milk and ‘Nestum’ in the morning, followed by donuts before the climb.
It is at this juncture that many would ask, how did it all begin? “He started when he was just two years old ... he saw me climbing the stairs in our apartment complex as part of my training and wanted to join in.
“If I climbed the stairs five times, he would climb twice.
He said he wanted to follow and be tough like me,” grinned Mohd Noor, who beganmountain climbing 12 years ago for recreation and fitness.
He said that the best training for those interested in pursuing a sport such as mountain climbing is to just climb stairs.
No gym needed. Climbing stairs develops all the muscles.
Swimming is also a good exercise.
Mohd Noor said that all these exercises still do not compare to actually climbing mountains as it provides not only physical but mental training.
“The toughest obstacle is not the mountain, but your mind.
Mental strength is important if you want to make it all the way,” he advised.
Syahrulnizam, while shy and did not talk much throughout the interview, soon became hyperactive and was running around the apartment much to the exasperation of the photographer trying to snap his pictures.
Hard to believe this little “chili padi”, who has become an icon for theMinistry of Sport and enjoys their patronage, still had energy left after completing a task that would knock most adults out for a good day or so. It certainly is good to be young.
So what is next for this dynamic duo? When asked how they planned to celebrate Syahrulnizam’s success at KL Tower, Mohd Noor said a trip to Mount Kinabalu was in the cards and that they will celebrate with a sucessful climb to the peak.
“This will just be for fun, not to break any records.
Syahrulnizam’s fourth birthday is on June 13 and we want to celebrate his birthday at the peak of Mount Kinabalu,” said Mohd Noor.
Was the journey successful? Visit the photographer’s blog at http://pensolo.blogspot.com and a quick scroll through the photos there will give you your answer. Little Syahrulnizam’s journey to conquering new heights has only just begun, under the loving and watchful eye of his father. The rest of Malaysia gets to sit back and watch.