KUALA LUMPUR: Things have been going great for goalkeeper Mohd Hamiz Mohd Ahir.
Last October, he helped Malaysia win the first-ever gold medal at the Youth Olympics Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
And exactly a year later, the Pahang player will make his debut at the six-nation Under-21 Sultan of Johor Cup, which begins on Saturday at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru.
National junior coach Nor Saiful Zaini selected Hamiz thanks to his outstanding performance during the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) and at the Razak Cup last month.
“He is a player with great potential. I have faith in him and I’m sure he will perform well in Johor, ” said the former international.
The 19-year-old Hamiz said he owed it to his elder sister Seri Hirdayu who encouraged him to take up the sport when he was nine.
“She played for Pahang and was called up for the national training squad in 2012 but she could not make it due to personal reasons, ” said Hamiz.
“She always encouraged me to earn a spot in the national team.
“I finally did and played for Malaysia in the four-nation Under-16 tournament in Mannheim, Germany, in 2016.
“My biggest break was of course at the Under-18 Youth Olympics Games. And now, I’m in the Under-21 side. Hopefully, I’ll make it to the senior squad, ” added Hamiz, who guided Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School to a double by winning the league and overall title in the Under-19 MJHL in July.
Malaysia, who finished fifth in Johor last year, will face a strong challenge from world junior champions India, defending champions Britain and Australia.
The other teams in the fray are New Zealand and Japan.
“This tournament is part of our preparation for next year’s Junior Asia Cup (Dhaka, June 4-14) as the top four teams will qualify for the 2021 Junior World Cup, ” said Hamiz, who was named the best goalkeeper in the MJHL in 2016.
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