PETALING JAYA: Laser class sailor Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy is ready to test uncharted waters at the World Sailing Championships in Aarhus, Denmark from July 30-Aug 12.
Malaysia will be participating in the race at the Bay of Aarhus for world championships medals and the possibility of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Nizam, who is looking to book his berth in the Olympics early, said the Malaysian sailors have a tough task in hand competing in Aarhus for the first time.
The other sailors participating in Aarhus are Nuraisyah Jamil-Norashikin Mohd Sayed in the women’s 470 event, Faizal Norizan-Ahmad Syukri Abdul Aziz in men’s 420 and Nur Shazrin Mohd Latif in Laser Radial events.
“This is the first qualifiers for the Olympics and we have a few more qualifiers lined up after this including in the Indonesia Asian Games. I hope to get the Olympic berth early and for that I need to perform well in the first six days of sailing to be in the top 50,” said Nizam who is eyeing his third Olympics after competing in London in 2012 and in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
“It will be easier to qualify for the Olympics if you make the top 50 but it will be tough because we are competing for the first time in Aarhus. We have competed in Europe before but this is a totally new venue for us so we need to adapt to the conditions quickly.”
“After the Aarhus meet, we will compete in the Indonesia Asiad which also offers direct slots to the Tokyo Olympics. We have two major tournaments back to back and I hope to have a positive outing in both.”
Nizam, who welcomed his bundle of joy Khairul Adam on June 29, said he has to be professional and national duty comes first as he sets to leave his wife Nur Amirah Hamid and baby to compete in Aarhus.
“It’s hard but you have to be a pro ... I have a good support system with my family and in-laws taking care of my wife and son so my burden is eased. Furthermore my wife has always been very supportive of my career.”