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27 Jul 2015
IOC News

Malaysian Youth Olympic hopefuls spurred on by IOC President

A group of 20 young Malaysian badminton players with their sights set on the next Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires in 2018 were given added motivation today to strive for success by a visit from IOC President Thomas Bach.

Ahead of the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur, President Bach seized the opportunity to visit a sports development project for young badminton players organised by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) and the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).

The promising young athletes, aged between 13 and 14, showed off their skills at the national training facility before handing over the racket to the IOC President for a quick rally with Nur Syaza Roshidi. He then followed with a few words of encouragement to help their preparations for the Youth Olympic Games and their future promising careers. 

He said: “This is an experience I really enjoy, being with young and inspired athletes who are clearly enjoying their sport.  It is great to see young ambitious athletes already preparing for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in 2018 and some already aspiring to be in Tokyo in 2020. They are all focused and working hard to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games, which I am confident will be a great success.”

Accompanying the IOC President was Young Ambassador Benjamin Khor, who represented Malaysia at the 2nd Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing last summer. He acted as a mentor to the 20 or so young athletes who competed for the country during the two-week event, and which saw four medals being won by young Malaysians including June Wei Cheam, who took gold in the badminton doubles along with partner Ng Tsz Yau of Hong Kong.

©IOC / Ian Jones

Benjamin, an architecture student and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist in shooting hoping to qualify for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, also gave some advice to the aspiring athletes: “Dreams are very important, as what you want to achieve all starts with a dream. You need to set your own goals, give 100 per cent, work hard, and most importantly, believe in yourself and believe in what you are doing. These then form the stepping stones to turning those dreams into a reality.”

To top off the morning’s excitement, the athletes had the opportunity to meet some of the organisers of the Buenos Aires 2018 YOG who passed on a little of the special YOG-DNA in the form of t-shirts and stickers for the athletes to remember the day.

As the President bid his farewells and training resumed as usual, 14 year-old Erica Hoh Ji Ling, who interacted with the President on the courts, shared how this visit had not only “been fun” but also “unique and very inspiring for the future” as she prepares for national competitions.

Buenos Aires 2018 takes place between 1 and 12 October 2018. Follow all the latest developments on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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