Three Malaysian sailors who have made waves internationally
Celebrating the national mariners sailing us into the history books
Sports are one of the few things that unite Malaysians across the country, especially when one of our own is competing. We have a rich legacy in badminton and squash, of course, and have been doing rather well recently in diving and cycling.
But did you know of our triumphs on the water? The Jalur Gemilang flies proudly in the sea breeze when these national champions are at the helm.
Dato’ Azhar Mansor
The first Malaysian to sail solo around the world, Dato’ Azhar Mansor set off from Awana Porto Malai in Langkawi on 2 Feb 1999 and returned 190 days, 6 hours, 57 minutes and 2 seconds later. That voyage also immortalized him as the first person to ever set a new solo west-east circumnavigation route, an official record verified by the World Speed Sailing Record Council.
The Perlis-born sailor originally intended to beat Christophe Auguin’s 1997 solo world record of 105 days, 20 hours and 31 minutes. Those hopes were dashed when the mast of the RM2 million Jalur Gemilang broke as he passed by the Falklands in April, causing unexpected delays.
He is still part of the watery field that found him fame with a managing role at Langkawi’s Telaga Harbour Park, one of the country’s finest marinas.
Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy
At 27 years old, Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy is preparing to face one of the greatest opportunities in an athlete’s career: the chance for a podium finish at the postponed Tokyo Olympics. The men’s Laser Standard class competitor is no stranger to the immense pressure at the Games, having competed at the previous two editions.
Coached by his father, Mohd Afendy Abdullah, he has brought glory to the sport and the national flag as a two-time Asian Games silver medallist. It has not all been smooth sailing; Khairulnizam has faced his fair share of failure and disappointments – he placed 47th at the 2012 London Olympics and 38th in Rio the following year. Similarly, his performance at the Philippines SEA Games last year – the sailing team failed to bring home the gold – was immediately redeemed at the Abu Dhabi International Regatta when he rode the wind into first place.
Nur Shazrin Mohamad Latif
Joining Khairulnizam in Tokyo next year is 22-year-old Nur Shazrin Mohamad Latif. Hailing from a family of veteran sailors, she was the first Malaysian female sailor to compete in the Olympics when she officially qualified for Rio in 2016. A second-place finish at the women’s Laser Radial at the preceding Asian Championships in Abu Dhabi cinched her debut at the greatest of games.
Under her belt are several wins that indicate a fruitful season in Japan in 2021. The Singapore SEA Games gold medalist also holds a bronze for Laser Radial at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and a promising 33rd finish at the last Olympics.
All eyes will be on the two young representatives at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Who will you be cheering on?