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'Ignore the haters': Tony Hawk, Daewon back under fire national skater

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"If I had listened to the haters thoughout my life, I would have stopped skating way too soon."

That was the message left by skateboarding legend Tony Hawk on the Instagram account of embattled national skateboarder Fatin Syahirah Roszizi, days after online abuse forced her to delete all of her earlier Instagram posts bar one – an apology to fellow Malaysians.

The 16-year-old had been heavily ridiculed following her less than stellar performance at the 2018 Asian Games at the women's street event, which saw her finish last.

However, words of encouragement soon began flooding in from all over the world, with a thank you message she posted on her social media account yesterday receiving over 2,300 comments, most of them positive – including from Hawk, professional skateboarder Daewon Song, and even US-based Malaysian singer Yuna.

"Don't give up!... They (haters) are simply projecting their insecurities on you because they wish they had the courage to follow their dreams. You can be an inspiration to a new generation of Malaysian skaters," Hawk said on her feed.

Yuna had posted a message to the teenager on social media as well, saying: "Nothing makes me prouder than seeing a 16-year-old Malaysian girl representing the country in sports.

"There are a lot of trolls out there but they are not the captain of your ship... Challenges happen in your life so you can rise up, come back stronger and better."

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who was in Indonesia to support the national contingent at the Asiad, also came forward to defend the athlete.

He took to Twitter to say that criticism should be levelled at his ministry and the sporting association instead.

After the event, Fatin, who is a self-taught skateboarder, was reported to have said that she had been unable to focus as she had injured a ligament in her left leg while training in Palembang.

She also admitted to being nervous at the event, and having just two months to prepare for the Asian Games – which was almost halved due to her injury.

Aside from the online abuse, netizens had also called into the question the country's selection process and criteria for the sport.

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