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‘One Mistake Can Cost You So Much’: Malaan Ajang and Tina Kuek Eliminated From The Amazing Race

The childhood friends fought as hard as they could to get away from the tail-end of the pack, but sadly on Sunday night they were the last team to check in at the Pit Stop.

Following an extremely close call in Leg 3, Tina and Malaan escaped elimination by just seconds. During a task where teams had to construct a dinosaur out of 33 puzzle pieces, the tail snapped off meaning the friends had to serve a 10-minute time penalty when they arrived at the Pit Stop.

Initially arriving in 8th place, Tina and Malaan had to serve their penalty and were officially checked in just seconds before Jude and Shannon arrived, saving Tina and Malaan from elimination.

“When we walked across the mat, I didn’t realise how close the mums were. I just burst into tears,” Tina told 10 play, adding, “I’m not a crier but it was overwhelming, you know?”

Having climbed their way out of the back of the pack once, Tina and Malaan once again had an uphill battle ahead of them in the fourth Leg.

“You really needed endurance,” Tina said. “We got to challenges and we did well in pretty much very challenge, we felt like we smashed it but you don’t realise that you finish one challenge then you have to ge to the next point and you keep going.

“You just keep going. That’s what we didn’t mentally prepare for,” Tina continued. “One mistake can cost you so much and that stamina and endurance was needed. That’s what made it hard.”

Malaan had been a fan of the show growing up, watching it from a young age she always knew she wanted to compete on the race.

“When I saw it online, I actually wanted Tina to do it with her partner because I thought it would be a great experience for them,” Malaan said. “I thought it would make great TV.”

Tina jumped in adding, “I said no way. If I was going to do it, I’m doing it with you. There’s no one else I’d do it with.”

Another aspect of the race Tina and Malaan didn’t expect was the response they received since the show began.

Both women were born in South Sudan, moving to other parts of Africa as refugees. When the pair were 5-years-old they met in Kenya and have been friends ever since, with both of their families eventually moving to Australia.

“I didn’t realise how important it was for other people to see us on [The Amazing Race],” Tina said. “It’s been overwhelming, in a good way! It’s so much bigger than us.”

With people reaching out telling the pair how meaningful it was to see the high-achieving childhood friends competing on the race, Tina and Malaan said it came with a lot of pressure to do well on the show, a pressure they’re glad they found out about after the race concluded.

“That pressure would have been immense, having to carry that on our shoulders,” Tina said, adding, “I see how important it is and why it’s important. At the time we were just having a good time and we wanted to do the best. We wanted to win, obviously, but it turned out the way it did.

“It’s nice that somehow people took something out of us being there. I’m glad it’s impacting other people.”

While the pair didn’t make it to the final Leg of the race, they did manage to leave a part of themselves in every corner of the country they visited. Literally.

“You don’t understand how heavy those bags are,” Malaan said. “Literally every single town we stopped at I would empty my bag. I’d leave one piece of clothing to make my bag lighter.”

“We had so much fun,” Malaan added.

Agreeing, Tina said, “We were dancing, laughing, and crying the whole time. That was pretty much our game.

“We moonwalked through the first couple of challenges and then at the end we got really stressed and I don’t remember if we laughed.”

“There were no laughs to be found,” Malaan added. “No laughs given. We just had an amazing time and we did it for us.”

The Amazing Race Australia continues 7.30 Sunday-Tuesday on 10 and 10 play