PETALING JAYA: Junior short skaters Dione Tan (pic) and Sean Yeo will get to mix it up with some of the world’s best when they take part in the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland – the first time Malaysians will be competing in the event at the Games.
The two skaters, both 16, have received their qualifications to the Games, which start tomorrow, after taking part in the 2019 World Junior Short Track Championships in Montreal, Canada, last year.
They are expected to participate in the 500m and 1,000m races, and will also be combining with athletes from other countries in the mixed relay.
The 500m event will be held on Jan 18, the 1,000m on Jan 20 and the mixed relay on Jan 22.
Sean, who took part in the SEA Games in Manila, is currently based in Nottingham, England, and training in the same club as reputed short skater Anja Chong. He is under the tutelage of Paul Worth.
Dione is building her way up in the Malaysian short track scene after winning a gold in the SEA Games women’s 500m relay with Ashley Chin, Kynie Chan and Anja, and a silver in the women’s 500m, upstaging the fare more experienced Anja.
Dione’s coach Wong De-Vin is not surprised to see her rise but has not set any target for her in Lausanne.
“I want her to beat her personal best in both events. I do not know the strength of her opponents, but for me, she needs to show that she is no pushover, ” he said.
“As preparation for Lausanne, she took part in the South-East Asia Trophy tournament in Singapore and won golds in the 500m, 1000m and 1500m.
“Dione is young and hungry. She is only 16. The older she gets, the better she is. I can see her willingness to learn and find ways to build her speed.”
Wong said the Youth Olympics would give her good exposure and also an idea on what is needed to get to the biggest stage of all, the Winter Olympics.
“If she had a little more experience, she could have delivered more in the SEA Games. I see her as a future gold medallist.”
Wong said the mixed relay event will be interesting because it is not an event by countries, but will see groups of four from different countries.
The idea behind the event is to foster camaraderie among the skaters.
What do you think of this article?