KUALA LUMPUR: It will be a whole new dawn when five Malaysians compete in skateboarding at the Asian Games in Indonesia next month.
Skateboarding was the last sport to be included into the Asian Games programme and coach Mohd Zamri Ramli said respectable performances from the athletes will go a long way to boost the profile of the sport.
“Skateboarding have gone into the mainstream sports stage as it will be contested at the next Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 and the Youth Olympics in Argentina later this year,” said Mohd Zamri, adding that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) wants to connect with the youths in the world as the face of sports is changing.
“We hope our athletes going for the Asian Games for the first time can get top 10 finishes. They are still inexperienced compared to their counterparts from Japan, Indonesia, Thailand or Singapore.
“But the good thing is the determination is there. After all, these athletes, aged between 11 to 24 years old, had to go through a national selection process to get in the squad.”
Eleven-year-old Ian Nuriman Amri and 24-year-old Yaziru Amiru Basyir Zainordin will compete in men’s park and street events while 16-year-old Fatin Syahirah Roszizi and 13-year-old Christina Lai Grace will be the representatives in the women’s park and street events. Mohd Hazim Syahmi Shahrum will take part in the men’s 20,000m road race.
“The Asian Games is a whole new ball game for everyone. There have been no competitions so far this year until the Asian Games. Thailand and Indonesia were scheduled to organise events but they have postponed it till after the Asian Games.
“We will send the athletes for a week-training stint in Thailand as the skatepark there is similar to the Asian Games venue,” he added.
All the athletes will be going to the Asian Games under category B. Except for Hazim whose trip is funded by Myskate, the Malaysian Extreme Sports Association (Mesa) will foot the bill for the rest.