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Saturday January 22, 2011
By Y.P. SIVAM email@example.com
THE Malaysian Ice Hockey Federation (MIHF) have pledged to return with a medal from the Asian Winter Games (AWG) in Astana-Almaty, Kazakhstan, from Jan 30 to Feb 6.
MIHF president Datuk Lee Hwa Beng, who is also the contingent’s chef-de- mission, said they were well prepared for the challenge in the AWG.
Malaysia will be taking part in the Premier Division which is for non-seasonal countries. Ranked third, behind United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Thailand, Malaysia have a bright chance of a podium finish.
At the last AWG in Changchun, China, in 2007, Malaysia finished a respectable eighth in the competition involving giants China, Japan and South Korea.
Hwa Beng said the Malaysian team, under the guidance of coach Martin Koloc, have made tremendous progress in the last four years.
“We were novices in the 2007 AWG but now the players are mature and have performed well in international competitions. So we have reason to be optimistic of our chances in Kazakhstan,” he said after receiving the Jalur Gemilang from Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
Veteran ice hockey player Haniff Mahmood will be the flag-bearer at the opening ceremony of the AWG on Jan 30.
Besides ice hockey, Malaysia will also be represented in figure skating. Two skaters — Ching Siau Chian and Ryan Yee Zhi-Jwen — will be participating in the AWG.
Siau Chian and Ryan are considered as the best female and male skaters in the country. They have taken part in local and international competitions.
Lee said the figure skaters were taking part in the AWG for the first time.
“I believe the Ice Skating Association of Malaysia (Isam) have prepared the skaters well. The two skaters will certainly look forward to make an impact in the AWG,” he added.
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