Mon06182018

LAST_UPDATEMon, 18 Jun 2018 1pm

18-Year-Old Makes History As First M’sian Athlete To Compete In Winter Olympics

Jeffrey Webb during a slalom training.Jeffrey Webb during a slalom training.

Despite being a humid and tropical country, Malaysia is about to witness its first participation in the Winter Olympics next year at Pyeongcheang, South Korea.

Jeffrey Webb.Jeffrey Webb.Jeffrey Webb, 18, will be the first Malaysian to compete in a Winter Olympics, and he will be participating in the Alpine Skiing event next year.

Currently, he is the only athlete confirmed to represent Malaysia in the quadrennial sporting event.

However, Webb is no stranger to international competitions, as in the past, he has participated in many tournaments such as the 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games and other races in Canada and the United States.

“I started skiing at a very young age, around four or five years old, and I started racing soon after,” he told Malaysian Digest.

For him to qualify in the Winter Olympics, he had to secure below a certain amount of points by competing in numerous Alpine Ski Racing events, which are calculated using different formulas for each event.

“I got my points below the required amount in Giant Slalom in early 2016, and my Slalom this last March,” he explained.

In order to prepare for next year’s tough competition, he is under a strict training regime, on and off the ski slopes. During the summer, he will be training on snow in Oregon and Switzerland, and his training continues during the fall and winter seasons.

When he is not skiing, he will train in the gym for strength building, aerobic exercises and agility training.

Since Malaysia does not have a formal ski team or experienced skiers, Webb needs to rely on the support of his father Steve Webb, his local coaches in Seattle, as well as his mother Jasmin Webb, who is the vice president of Ski Malaysia.

Jeffrey during ski practice.Jeffrey during ski practice.“My father and local coaches on my club in the United States will help organise my training, and will support me in races as well,” said the lad who gains inspiration from professional Austrian skier Marcel Hirscher.

Despite being the sole athlete to represent Malaysia, he currently does not receive any funding from the Youth and Sports Ministry or any other third party sponsors.

Nevertheless, with high spirits, he hopes that Malaysia’s participation in the Winter Olympics will be maintained over the years, after his debut for the country next year.

“Every new race and event I go to is a learning experience that I hope to build on. As I am only 18 years old, I plan on continuing as far as I can go,” the young and hopeful athlete stated.

With all of Malaysia surely rooting behind him, we at Malaysian Digest wish Webb all the best in his Winter Olympics debut, and never stop making the country proud.

Giant slalom race at Red Mountain, British Columbia.Giant slalom race at Red Mountain, British Columbia.

-- mD