PETALING JAYA: Early preparation paid huge dividends for Nur Shazrin Mohd Latif when she became Malaysia’s first woman to compete in sailing at the Olympics.
The 17-year-old finished put up a strong finish to secure a silver medal behind Thailand’s Kamolwan Chanyim in the Laser Radial at the Asian Sailing Championships in Abu Dhabi.
Shazrin finished just three points behind Chanyim (16) with both securing the two Olympic spots at stake for Asian continent in the event.
There were more cheers as Khairulnizam Afendy claimed the Laser Standard gold medal with 30 points – eight less than second-placed Keerati Bualong of Thailand.
The duo were already assured of their Olympic spots after coming out tops in qualifying. Team-mate Ahmad Latif Khan took the bronze medal with 41 points.
Shazrin, who grew up near the sea off Pasir Gudang in Johor, was delighted to join Khairulnizam as the two Malaysian representatives in Rio de Janeiro. It is also the first time two Malaysian sailors have made it to the Olympics.
“This is the first time I spent a month preparing at the venue before an event and it helped me a lot,” said Shazrin, who is the Singapore SEA Games gold medallist.
“I missed the cut at the Sailing World Cup in China last year, so I was determined to win my last chance.
“This regatta was a very good test as we faced different conditions ... thunderstorms and light winds,” she added.
“It also tested our patience as races were deferred. Still I never expect to compete in the Olympics in my first attempt,” said Shazrin.
Khairulnizam was delighted with his outing throughout the week.
“It’s so good to qualify and I’m so proud how I sailed well this week. I kept following the wind, even if I was not in the best position. In the end it worked,” said the Langkawi lad.
In the women’s skiff 49er FX, Rufina Tan and Connie Tsen came in fifth.