KUALA LUMPUR: Sailor Mohd Fauzi Kaman Shah is Malaysia’s youngest – and smallest-sized – athlete out of the 556 who will feature in the Myanmar SEA Games.
The 11-year-old, a Year Five pupil of Klebang primary school in Langkawi, weighs only 24kg and stands at only 127cm (4ft 2in).
But Fauzi, who will be making his debut at the Games in the boys’ optimist event, is not daunted by the sheer size of the challenge facing him in Myanmar.
“I have featured in international meets this year and the SEA Games will be my third competition of the year,” said Fauzi.
“Although I am small in size, I am able to handle the boat well in the optimist event.
“I don’t fear the choppy waves because I love the sea. I was born in Langkawi and have always been surrounded by the sea,” said Fauzi, who took up sailing four years ago.
He joined the Kedah Sailing Association two years ago and did well to finish second in the optimist event in the National Circuit in Langkawi in April.
He was roped into the national team and made his international debut in the Pattaya Sailing championships in May.
He also featured in the India Regatta championship in Chennai in October.
In the national meet in Langkawi last week, Fauzi finished second in the optimist event.
Fauzi, who is the youngest among four siblings, said that he felt honoured when Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin shook hands with him during the handing over of the Jalur Gemilang to chef-de-mission Datuk Wira Amiruddin Embi in Bukit Jalil on Thursday.
“Khairy gave a motivational speech that really inspired all of us who are going to the SEA Games,” said Fauzi.
National coach Mohd Hafizi Roslee said that Fauzi is the top ranked optimist sailor in the Under-12 category.
“We will decide in Myanmar whether to let him compete as a solo or in the team event. It will all depend on how strong the waves are,” said Hafizi.
The optimist event is for sailors aged below 15 and is divided into three categories – boys’, girls’ and combined team.
A total of 13 golds are at stake in the sailing competition, which will be held at the Ngwe Saung Beach in Pathein.