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Wednesday, 14 February 2018 | MYT 7:33 AM

Figure skater can't wait for action to begin on first day of CNY

PETALING JAYA: All eyes in Malaysia will be on Julian Yee when he begins the men’s single skating competition at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on the first day of Chinese New Year on Friday.

And the determined 20-year-old has promised to take his time and savour every moment – after all it’s Malaysia’s first-ever participation in the Games.

So far, it has been a blast for Julian in cold South Korea.

On Feb 9, the nation’s flag-bearer marched proudly, leading the small Malaysian contingent during the opening ceremony.

Besides Julian, the other Malaysian representative is alpine skier Jeffrey Webb. Both are Malaysia’s first-ever participants in the Winter Olympics.

“It was a memorable moment to walk out during the opening ceremony. It was a historic feat just to be there and I thoroughly enjoyed it – leading the team,” said Julian.

He has also enjoyed mingling with all the stars of the Winter Games.

“It’s an amazing experience. There are many great athletes here, I get to eat with them, hang out when we are not on the ice,” he said.

“I’ve met Shaun Roger White, the professional snow boarder from America and Kim Yuna of South Korea (former professional figure skater) ... it’s just awesome.”

The culmination of his hard work over the years will be laid bare when he aims to make a mark in the men’s single event.

“It’ll be a two-day event. The first day will be a short programme where 30 athletes will compete. I have two minutes and 50 seconds to perform three jumps, three spins and a one step sequence,” he said.

“Only the top 24 proceed to the next day (free skating).

“My goal is to keep my routine clean and execute all the jumps as best as I can.”

Julian has chosen the song “To Build A Home” as his theme.

“I’ll tell a story, share my emotions through my skating and hopefully, it will score points from the judges. I’ve trained hard and hopefully, the muscle memory will work to its best.”

Julian, who has been training in Canada since 2016 under German coach Michael Hopfes to fine tune his preparation for the Games, is happy with the overwhelming support.

“I’m here today because of the many people behind me.

“My parents, siblings and coaches have put in so much of effort and time ... I’m thankful for that,” he said.

“They showed determination, they did not give up hope on me and had kept pushing me. I’m fortunate to have this support and this motivates me even more.”