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Badminton and lately cycling have become the conduit of our hope in major sporting events. However, the earliest athlete to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo competes away from stadiums and velodromes. Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy will set sail at the Enoshima Yacht Harbor courtesy of his silver medal performance in the men’s laser standard at the 2018 Asian Games, marking his third consecutive appearance at the Olympics. Having made his Olympics debut at 19 years old, Khairulnizam took up sailing at the age of 5, cultivated by his father Mohd Afendy Abdullah who is formerly a national sailor. “My sister and I started sailing at our first sailing club – the Royal Selangor Yacht Club in Port Klang – in a small sailing boat call Optimist,” recalls the sailor who now trains regularly in Langkawi’s azure waters.
As someone who lives in the public eye where burdens of expectation are persistently placed on his shoulders, he is grateful for the unconditional support from his wife and family who are a source of encouragement
no matter win or lose. “Victories are always easier to deal with than disappointment, especially when I achieve my target and I can share with everyone. It makes me more determined,” he says, citing innate persistence, dedication, tenacity and the loathing of losing as factors that keep him going. “I always take public expectation as a challenge and try to do my best in every single race I partake.” For now, he aims for a top-10 finish and to fight for a better result to “make my country proud.”
Khairulnizam is wearing HUBLOT Spirit of Big Bang King Gold; printed shirt, long leather jacket, pants and shoes, all from VERSACE



Country director, Global School Leaders Malaysia


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