PETALING JAYA: Sailing coach Sahir A. Rahim is one gratified and happy man.
Sahir has two budding students who are like “sponges” to him – absorbing what he teaches and perusing the knowledge in their training for Olympics glory.
The Malaysian duo down for the 470 class sailing event for the Tokyo Olympics are 20-year-old Juni Karimah Noor Jamali and Nuraisyah Jamil (24). After taking them under his wings for two years, Sahir confidently assessed that they are quick learners and always willing to push themselves in training.
Juni and Nuraisyah’s preparation started in 2019, but it was impacted in 2020 as they could not compete in any competitions in Europe due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But training went on, albeit quarantine-based, when they trained at the Langkawi Sailing Centre in Kedah and this year, from March to May, they trained in Desaru, Johor.
“Their combination is getting better every day, and I hope these two can spring a surprise in Enoshima Yacht Harbour. They are quick learners and capable of doing something,” said Sahir.
“To tune them, I stressed a lot on the basics, and once they got it right, we went to the advance stage in training. They have grasped all of them well, and as a coach, I am happy with them. Motivation wise, they just have to be positive all the time, and from there, they can create some success. It’s their first Olympics, but I believe they can do something special.”Sahir did say that the competition in the 470 category will be tough as three previous medallists are in the fray. Hannah Mills from Britain won gold in 2016 with Saskia Clark but will partner McIntyre Mills in Tokyo.
France’s Camille Lecointre, bronze medallist in Rio will pair with Aloise Retomaz, while Holland’s Lobke Berkhout, who won silver in Beijing 2008, will partner Afrodite Zegers in Japan.
“To win a medal, they have to be smart and reduce mistakes from the start. Plus, you have to be really strong-willed to do your best. The favourites I reckon would be from Japan, Britain, France and Spain.
“Juni and Nuraisyah will just have to implement what they learnt over the two years, and if they do not do anything wrong, they can do something extraordinary.”