Who knew that training at the Sunway Pyramid Ice rink in Malaysia would’ve someday led to qualifying for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics?
Meet 20-year-old Julian Yee Zhi-Jie, a 5-time Malaysian senior national champion (2013 – 2017).
Julian and his brothers were first introduced to skating by their mother, Irene. At just the tender age of 4, he began learning to skate at the Sunway Pyramid Ice rink. Less than 10 years later, when he was 13 years old, he became the youngest skater to win the Junior Men’s category, breaking the previous record held by his brother, Ryan Yee Zhi-Jwen.
By 2014, he was breaking more records, becoming the first Malaysian to reach the free skate at the Four Continents Championship in Taipei. 3 years later, Julian flew to Sapporo, Japan to compete at his first Asian Winter Games; he placed 8th with a new personal best of 222.69 points. In August 2017, he won gold at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games and also gained enough points to place in the top 7 to quality for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
What are the odds? A boy from a tropical country!
Note: I was given the opportunity by our friends from Korea Tourism Organisation (Malaysia) to experience firsthand some of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics (평창 동계 올림픽) events. Safe to say that I was surprised to see our Jalur Gemilang amongst other participating countries’ flags, hanging under Gangneung Ice Arena ceiling.
He may have spent most of his training on ice rinks, but through PyeongChang’s “The Dream Programme”, Julian was able to meet youths who, just like him, had limited access to the winter weather or winter sports. The programme, which is usually organised for 10 days between January and February in PyeongChang, gives those who have potential to excel in winter sports the opportunity to train in skiing and ice sports.
In speaking about PyeongChang’s “The Dream Programme”, Julian gushed, “I was selected by my National Ice Skating Association (Ice Skating Association Of Malaysia) to participate in the 2009 Korean Dream Program in PyeongChang. I was very inspired with the fact that PyeongChang may be an Olympic Venue in the future and that I had the opportunity to learn more about figure skating at the Korean Dream Program. With this Dream Program, it had also made me realise that the Winter Olympics is a very important and prestigious event. Making me want to be there some day.”
“8 years later, it is truly and honour and an achievement to be able to qualify and participate at the 2018 Winter Olympics PyeongChang, the very same venue as the Korean Dream Program,” he added.
Aww, we’re so proud of you. You go, Julian 🙂
Malaysia Boleh! 🇲🇾
Applications for “The Dream Programme” are distributed and received by Korean Embassy through the process of consultation with the Nation Olympic Committee (NOC) of the country concerned. Each NOC recommends participants among promising players of 11 – 15 years old from their respective countries. After the reviewing of the applications, participants will be confirmed by Gangwon Province.
Special thanks to our friends from Korea Tourism Organisation (Malaysia) for the opportunity!
Hype Malaysia is also an official “Wow! PyeongChang!” supporter in conjunction with the upcoming 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea. So keep a look out for our future posts as we’ll be gushing over places to go, things to do, and food to eat in Gangwon 😉
Big shoutout to our friends from Travel Recommends for keeping us connected with unlimited data on our trip to South Korea, enabling us to update real-time for the entire duration without a hitch 😉
Featured image: Julian Yee’s Instagram.