Khairulnizam Afendy has been sailing since he was five years old. His immense dedication paid off when he won the silver medal in the laser standard at the 2018 Asian Games. Due to his incredible performance in the Asian Games, he became the first Malaysian to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, marking his third consecutive appearance at the Olympic games.
Having made his Olympics debut at the age of 19, the seasoned sailor is coached by his father Mohd Afendy Abdullah who is a former national sailor. “In the beginning, he was extremely strict as a coach. Even though I favoured swimming over sailing when I was a kid, my dad would push me towards sailing. I didn’t develop a passion for sailing until I started participating and winning in competitions.” recalls the seasoned sailor who is currently situated in Tokyo alongside around 30 of our national athletes.
With the Tokyo Olympics within reach, Khairulnizam hopes that 2021 is the year Malaysia succeeds in the quest for our very first gold medal. “All of us who are heading to Tokyo understand the responsibility that comes with representing the country. We will try our best to give the best performance we can, and I hope that one of us can bring back a gold medal back to Malaysia.” says the national Olympian. As someone who has been in the game for as long as he has, Khairulnizam understands and anticipates the tremendous expectation that is placed on the shoulders of our national athletes.
Recently, we talked to our former cover personality who is eager to sail the seas again. In this interview, Khairulnizam Afendy talks about his experience growing up in Langkawi, his fondest Olympic memories, as well as his message to Malaysians rooting for him during the Tokyo Olympics.