FOLLOWING a positive outing at last month’s Philippines Sea Games, ice skaters Dione Tan and Sean Yeo will next get a taste of top-level junior competition when they take to the rink for the Winter Youth Olympics, which begins in Lausanne on Thursday.
The short track speed skaters, who are both 16, made the cut following fine performances at the World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Montreal last year.
Dione is in good form having won one gold (3,000m relay), one silver (500m) and one bronze (1,000m) at the Sea Games.
Malaysia Ice Skating Federation (MISF) are, however, not setting any lofty targets for the duo in Switzerland where they will be racing in the 500m and 1,000m categories, and possibly the mixed nation relay.
“Both did well to qualify for the Winter Youth Olympics. It is not easy to do so as only the top-32 skaters made the cut in their respective events,” said MISF president Irene Cheow yesterday.
“We do not have any high expectations. This is more about them gaining as much experience as possible in a high-level competition.
“The recent Sea Games was the biggest (senior) competition they had competed in.
“In addition to their individual events, we are also hoping that they will get selected by the organisers to compete in the mixed nation relay event.
“If selected, they will team up with skaters from other nations.
“This, however, depends on how they do in the individual events.”
Dione and her coach Wong De-Vin will leave for Lausanne from Malaysia tomorrow while Sean, who is currently training in the United Kingdom, will join the duo in Switzerland.
Figure skater Chew Kai Xiang represented Malaysia at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.
Kai Xiang finished 11th in the individual event and fourth in the mixed nation team event in that edition. The Winter Youth Olympics is an Under-18 competition.