* ‘We are seven to eight behind in skiing’ – Othman Mirzan
* ‘Time for Malaysia to compete in World Cup and Winter Olympics’ – Othman Mirzan
The 20-year-old grandson of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is studying international relations in University of Colarado (US), wants to keep Malaysia’s spirit of “Malaysia Boleh” made famous by his grandfather.
“I know where I stand against the rest but it won’t stop me as it has made me all the more determined to make skiing a popular sport. The ‘Malaysia Boleh’ spirit is burning in me and I believe we can do it,” said Othman, who has been skiing since the age of four.
The soft spoken Othman was quick to point out that if Thailand and India can have national ski team why can’t Malaysia.
Othman’s hopes and aspirations for a national ski team took off on Wednesday with a big boost after the Genting Resort Secret Garden, home to the Genting Snow Park in Beijing forged a partnership with Ski Malaysia, the Ski and Snowboard Association of Malaysia.
This will allow national skiers to have a “home” to train for competitions at Genting Resort Secret Garden – which is also where the national ski teams of Japan and South Korea train.
The 2,110m high Genting Resort Secret Garden, which is nestled in the Chongli Valley draws elite skiers from across Asia hosts a multitude of slopes of all levels.
Othman has been training with skiers from the United States in Maine for one year and it has “not been easy” knowing that he has a “lot of catching up” to do in his skiing.
“I realise I am seven to eight years behind but there is also motivation to keep going…not to finish last in my races. It is time for Malaysia to make their presence felt in the winter sports. The MoU between Ski Malaysia and Secret Garden is a big boost for skiing to take off in a big way.
“Secret Garden will be home to Malaysian skiers and it is nearer home,” said Othman, adding that there has been a big increase in Malaysians wanting to take up sport since the Ski Malaysia was formed three years ago.”
Ski Malaysia president Tan Sri Shahril Shamsuddin has described the partnership as the “stepping stone to an interesting journey” for Malaysian skiing to move up.