Top Malaysian sailor Jeremy Koo believes Malaysia can produce Olympic contenders in the next decade
Veteran sailor Jeremy Koo is a man on a mission, and that mission is to see Malaysia realise its great and untapped potential in the sport of sailing.
Currently skipper of the Sime Darby Foundation-Koo Racing Team (SDF-KRT), Jeremy Koo enjoyed a highly successful 2014 and was ranked a career high of No.28 on the ISAF World Rankings in April this year.
After a tame showing in the recent Asian Games and Monsoon Cup, the 34-year-old, who moved up from rank 37 to 28 in the last few months, believes that the positive learnings from the two experiences would only spur better results in the future.
“In the Monsoon Cup, we raced with a new team, with two new members. It was a valuable lesson on the importance of communication, teamwork and knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” says Koo.
The decision of the Monsoon Cup to include a regional competition has opened up greater opportunities for local talents in Match Racing,while the experience of working with a new coach during the Monsoon Cup has also improved the technical know-how of SDF-KRT.
The skipper is confident that future plans to engage a coach can only bring the team further ahead and with more experience at the top level of sailing, Malaysia can begin producing world class sailors.
“The Monsoon Cup can be a good catalyst to inspire local talents in international sailing and help them to become Olympic contenders within the next 10 years,” said Koo.
One of the most positive steps being taken forward is the setting up of an elite Match Racing team by the Malaysian Sports Council, under the guidance of the Ministry of Youth & Sports.
“It is an important step forward. I am sure that all of Malaysia’s top and upcoming sailors, me included, will now aspire towards becoming a member of this elite team. If all of the country’s top talents can be harnessed through this programme, I am confident that this team can become Olympic contenders,” the SDF-KRT skipper said.
Aside from lending his support to government initiatives, Koo has a number of initiatives of his own that he believes can further boost match racing in the country.
“I truly hope to be able to form a second team, which can sail locally in the LLM until they are ready to compete internationally. In the meantime, the Team 1 will have the chance to go international and explore other match races around the world, gaining more experience as we race with international class sailors,” says Koo.
Koo believes that initiatives on the grassroots level are also important, and aims to form a coaching school that can provide the right early training for talented young sailors who wish to take the sport seriously.
The skipper, however, admits that his plans can move forward a lot quicker if there was more investment into the sport.
“We definitely need a lot more support for the sport to grow locally. If there was more monetary investment for sailors to gain international experience, we will have a great chance of realizing the potential for so many of our talented young sailors,” he adds.
Yayasan Sime Darby
Yayasan Sime Darby, or Sime Darby Foundation, was established in 1982 and is the primary driver of Sime Darby Berhad’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
The objectives of Yayasan Sime Darby are supported by its five pillars, namely: education; environment, community & health; youth & sports and arts & culture. While led by independent members of a Governing Council and managed by a dedicated team, Yayasan Sime Darby works closely with the Sime Darby Group, in areas of mutual interest.
Since its inception, Yayasan Sime Darby has awarded scholarships worth
RM 217 million to 2,519students both in and outside Malaysia.It is supporting long term research projects of significant scientific value like the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) project which is the world’s largest ecological project, a joint effort with the Royal Society (The UK and Commonwealth Academy of Science).
Yayasan Sime Darby is also actively involved in the development and improvements of sports in Malaysia namely track cycling, lawn bowling, cricket, tennis and golf. Under its community & health pillar, Yayasan Sime Darby supports initiatives to promote the well-being of disadvantaged people irrespective of race, culture, religion, creed or gender and works with established organisations to promote the development of arts and culture.