KUANTAN: English Channel swimmer Lennard Lee travelled for two days to make it home in time for the National Day celebrations here today.
Lee is among the national heroes given the honour of taking part in the parade at Dataran Kemunting this morning.
I was travelling in Uzbekistan, when the Malaysian Government e-mailed my father inviting me to participate in the celebrations. He forwarded the e-mail to me.
But as it was difficult to log on to the Internet there, I only read the e-mail two days later. By then, I had three days to get home to Malaysia! I am very pleased to be invited to come home to celebrate the National Day.
I'd like to thank the Prime Minister and Tourism Malaysia for helping me get back here, the 21-year-old said at the Grand Continental Hotel here.
Lee was in Uzbekistan on Saturday, then he travelled to Frankfurt in Germany and arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
I hardly had any sleep but I'm very happy to be home. I'm pleased to be given the chance to represent Malaysia again and participate in my first National Day parade, he added.
His travels to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Khrgystan are sponsored by Cambridge University, where he is currently studying medicine.
Lee will leave Malaysia on Friday to continue with his journeys.
He received national recognition in July when he became the second Malaysian to swim across the English Channel. He achieved the feat in nine hours and 45 minutes.
On his participation in the parade, Lee said he was overwhelmed, noting that he swam across the English Channel for charity and therefore did not expect such an honour.
I've always been a Malaysian at heart. It makes me proud to be a Malaysian and to have the Malaysia Boleh spirit, said Lee, who left Malaysia in 1989 to further his studies in England.
His return to Malaysia also gave him the chance to meet his hero, Datuk Malik Mydin the first Malaysian to cross the English Channel last year.
Malik, Mount Everest conquerors M. Magendran and N. Mohandass, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) students Muhamad Muqharabbin Mokhtaruddin and Ahmad Reduan Rozali, will also take part in the parade here today.
He (Malik) is amazing. Meeting him was fascinating. He is very nice and was an inspiration to me, said Lee, who met Malik at the hotel last night.