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Sports

Brunei's record-breaker reflects on Olympics

The 2012 Olympics have been historic for women in sports. Runner Maziah Mahusin discusses how she felt about being Brunei's first female Olympian, and setting a new national record.

In London, Mahusin became the first woman to represent the southeast Asian nation. Competing in the 400 meters, the 19-year-old set a new national record with a time of 59.28 seconds. If that wasn't historic enough, she was also the nation's flag bearer at the opening ceremonies.

DW: How did you feel about competing in the Olympics?

Maziah Mahusin: I feel deeply honored. It's a dream come true. I never expected to compete in the Olympics this early. I feel happy for being able to represent Brunei and especially for being the first female athlete [from Brunei to compete in the Olympics]. I'm really grateful.

Was it a surprise when you first found out that you'd be going to the Olympics?

I never thought that I would be competing in an Olympics someday. I was really surprised. But here I am, competing in an Olympics. I'm really happy.

You set the Brunei national record as well in the 400.

Yeah, I broke the record. I didn't expect that at all. I'd been sick for the past few weeks and I didn't train for four days, but then I just pushed myself through it and suddenly I set the national record. It's unbelievable. I never expected I'd break the national record. I'm really proud of myself.

You were the flag bearer for Brunei at the opening ceremony. Was that intimidating to be in front of thousands of people in the stadium and a billion people on TV watching you?

It was the best "goose bumps" I've ever had. I was really excited and nervous at first when I entered the stadium with the huge crowd watching me. But I was happy to hold the flag of Brunei Darussalam.

What would you say your favourite moment from London has been so far?

My favorite moment was taking a photo with Usain Bolt (laughs). And competing in the Olympic stadium with a huge crowd watching me and then suddenly I broke the national record in front of 80,000 people. That was the best moment ever. I will never, ever forget that moment.

What do you have planned next for your career or back in Brunei?

This is just the beginning for my career. When I come back to Brunei I will still continue my training because there will be more challenges after the Olympics. So I'm still going to train and continue my studies.

Will the world see you again in 2016 in Rio?

Hopefully. I would love to go to the next Olympics. That is the biggest [stage] in the world, so I'm really looking forward to it.

Interview: Benjamin Mack
Editor: Matt Zuvela