Get ready to cheer for Malaysian alpine skiers

Malaysia's first competitive alpine skier Othman Mirzan. - P. NATHAN/ The STAR

KUALA LUMPUR: Skiing and Malaysia hardly go together.

Yet, there are skiers ready to do Malaysia proud.

One of them is Othman Mirzan, the grandson of former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad.

The 20-year-old, who is pursuing a degree in international relations at the University of Colorado, has been skiing for only a year and made his international debut in the North Eastern Ski Championships in North America last November.

“I love skiing ... I’ve been doing it since I was four. I’ve been training with the United States skiers in Maine (North America) for a year now,” said Othman.

“As a newcomer to the sports, when I wake up at 5am to go for training, I realise that I’m seven or eight years behind the other skiers.

“I only hope that I don’t finish last in competitions.

“Malaysia has never featured in the Winter Olympics and I believe that the time has come for us to make our debut.

“Other Asian countries like India and Thailand already have their own national skiers ... Malaysia should have a national skiing team too.

“Since we founded the association (three years ago), people have been interested to sign up as skiers. We’ll help train them and get them into competitions.

“We have a seven-year plan for the skiers to compete at the highest level, like the World Championships (in St Moritz, Switzerland, in 2017) and also the Asian Winter Games (in Sapporo, Japan, in 2017).

“All the details regarding the national team will be revealed by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on Aug 3,” added Othman, after witnessing the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Genting Resort Secret Garden and Ski Malaysia at Wisma OCM on Wednesday.

The MoU was signed by chairman of Genting Resort Secret Garden Datuk Lim Chee Wah and Ski Malaysia president Tan Sri Shahril Shamsuddin.

Chee Wah said that the partnership with Ski Malaysia would see them providing board and lodging for Malaysian skiers to train at the Genting Resort Secret Garden in Beijing, China, which has 70km of ski trails.

“The Malaysian skiers will train with their Japanese and South Koreans counterparts in Beijing. It will help the Malaysian skiers improve their skills,” said Chee Wah.

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