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Published: Saturday December 28, 2013 MYT 9:45:00 PM
Updated: Saturday December 28, 2013 MYT 9:53:00 PM

Sailor Khairulnizam caught on two boats

Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy prefers to compete in the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander, Spain, next year. - Filepic

Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy prefers to compete in the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander, Spain, next year. - Filepic

PETALING JAYA: Next year will prove to be a stern test for national sailor Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy.
 
The 20-year-old, who competed at the 2012 London Olympics, is set to face the toughest decision in his career. He has to choose between competing in the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander, Spain, from Sept 8-21 or the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, from Sept 19-Oct 4.

The Worlds will have a lot more riding on it as it is the first of the Olympic qualifiers and 50% of the slots for the sailing competition at the 2016 Rio Olympic will be won there.

“My main goal has always been the Olympics and I want to make the 2016 Rio Games. If given a choice, I’ll pick the Worlds over the Asian Games. It’s the first Olympic qualifiers and I’ve desperate to make it. I don’t want to take any chances. If I skip this one, I don’t know if I will even make the second qualifiers. It’s a chance that I really don’t want to squander,” said Khairulnizam.
 
“Santander looks like a good bet for me with 48 participating countries. That means the top 24 countries will earn a spot in Rio 2016. Technically, I have to aim for a top 30 or 40 finish to seal my place. 

“But if the Malaysian Yachting Association (MYA) decide that I must compete in the Asiad, then I have to abide by their decision,” he added.

Khairulnizam’s confidence has been boosted by his triumph in the men’s Laser Standard at the recent Myanmar SEA Games. He also finished a creditable 60th out of 130 participants at the Laser Standard Men’s World Championship in Musannah, Oman, in November.
 
And he has managed to do it all without the aid of a permanent coach since the 2010 Asian Games. 

“Winning the gold at the SEA Games was a result of all the hard work that I put in throughout the year. This year has been really trying for me. It has been both physically and mentally demanding having to juggle between my studies and going for competitions,” said Khairulnizam, a second year sports science student at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).

Khairulnizam has been training sporadically under Croatia’s Aron Polic since the 2012 Olympics. 

And he is open to the idea of training under Polic in Croatia. 

“I don’t have a preference. It’s up to the management to decide on who they think is suitable for the job of coaching me. I can work with any coach. But if they can’t get any one, I don’t mind being sent to Croatia to train under Aron who knows me best as he understands my character and my weaknesses. Some of the world’s best are now training in Croatia and I stand to benefit a lot from the exposure as well,” said Khairulnizam

Tags / Keywords: Sport Others, Sport, sailing, Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy, Asian Games, ISAF Sailing World Championships

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