Khairulnizam hopes to feature in Europe to refine skills

PETALING JAYA: National sailor Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy hopes to compete in the Laser Senior European Championships in Greece in October in a bid to sharpen up his racing skills ahead of the Tokyo Olympics next year.

The European meet, which allows sailors already qualified for the Olympics to compete, was scheduled for May 16-23 but has been moved to Oct 9-16 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Khairulnizam will be making his third Olympic appearance in Tokyo next year and said he needed top level competition to maintain a competitive edge.

“The standard at the European Championship is very high and at times is tougher than the World Championships, ” said Khairulnizam.

“Besides the competition, it is also important for me to get used to strong wave conditions during the event.

“We are now able to train here (in Malaysia) but the waves may not be as big as they are in other places so it is important for me to be able to adapt to tough conditions again.

“If I just train here in Langkawi, I may be caught off guard when I have to compete under difficult weather conditions.

“But I am not sure if I will be able to go (to Greece). We have to wait and see how things go with the government guidelines at that time.”

The 27-year-old and fellow national sailors under the Road to Tokyo programme reported for training at the National Sailing Training Centre in Langkawi on Monday.

All 24 people (athletes, coaches and support staff) involved in the early training programme have tested negative in the first Covid-19 swab test.

Besides Khairulnizam, 470 class duo Juni Karimah Noor Jamali and Nuraisyah Jamil and laser radial sailor Nur Shazrin Mohd Latif have also qualified for the Tokyo Olympics which will now be held from July 23 to Aug 8 next year.

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