KUALA LUMPUR: Bryan Sony Lah comes from the small Kayan community in Miri. And he wants to make his community proud by doing well in the World Junior Wushu championships, which begins on Tuesday at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium.
Besides being the first from his community to represent the country in wushu, the 14-year-old Bryan will also be making his international debut.
He made the grade to join the Malaysian team in training for the World Juniors after a strong outing in the national junior championships in Penang in March where he won gold in taijiquan (free hand) and bronze in jianshu (sword). And he did enough to impress the coaches in two months of centralised training to get a place on the world stage.
Bryan said getting selected to feature in his first-ever international meet was a big honour for him.
“Wushu is a Chinese-dominated sport and I feel happy that I will be representing my small Kayan community in the championships,” said Bryan, who took up the sport three years ago.
“I don't feel nervous at all even though I will be up against the world's best junior exponents. I hope to make my community proud by winning a medal.”
Bryan was introduced the sports by coach Tiong Ching Chiong at the excellent sports centre in Miri.
“I love martial arts sports and found wushu very interesting. I thanked Master Tiong for introducing me to wushu as it also helps me to become a very discipline person. It also changed my attitude to become a better person,” he said.
“Although the training is tough, I enjoy it as I want to become a national exponent in the next five years.”
In the World Juniors, besides taijiquan and jianshu, Bryan is also down to compete in the qiangshu (spear) event.
The Form Two student of Chung Hua Chinese Secondary School said that his mother, Paya Lah, and elder sister Grace would be in Kuala Lumpur to lend him morale support in the championships.
“I am looking forward to the presence of my family during the championships. I hope my first international meet will turn out to be a memorable one. I also want to become a successful wushu exponent like my coach Ho (Ro Bin),” said Bryan.
Ro Bin said that Bryan showed tremendous improvement over the last two months of training and it would be no surprise if the Kayan boy lands a medal.
“Bryan is a fast learner and he is always eager to learn new techniques to improve his skills and steps,”' said Ro Bin.
Besides Bryan, the other non-Chinese exponent in the Malaysian team is another Sarawkian, Gladys Molling, who is a Bidayuh.
The championships have two age-groups of competition – Under-14 and Under-18. And there are 48 medals at stake.