Get to know Southeast Asia’s Winter Olympics athletes

Olympic freestyle skier Andri Ragettli completes another mind-blowing parkour course (at 232nd attempt!)

No snow, no problem. Just because Southeast Asia has a tropical climate doesn’t mean the region can’t have its very own winter sports athletes to represent the region at the Olympics.

Get to know the nine athletes representing Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang across seven events, from how they got into the sport to when you can see them in action.

Malaysia

Julian Yee

Date of birth? 26 May 1997 (20 years old)

What sport? Men’s single skating

Previous appearances? Yee is the first Malaysian ever to compete in Olympic figure skating and will also be the official flag bearer for Malaysia at the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang.

How did he discover the sport? Growing up in Malaysia, Yee started ice skating at the rink in Petaling Jaya’s Sunway Pyramid shopping mall after encouragement from his mother.

When can you see him compete? Men single skating short program, Friday 16 Feb and free skating, Saturday 17 Feb

Jeffrey Webb

Date of birth? 27 October 1998 (19 years old)

What sport? Men’s alpine skiing

How did he discover the sport? Webb was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but moved to the US when he was five years old and picked up skiing there soon after.

Previous Olympic appearances? Webb is the first Malaysian ever to qualify for the Winter Olympics and will be making his debut in Pyeongchang.

When can you see him compete? Alpine skiing schedule

Philippines

Michael Christian Martinez

Date of birth? 4 March 1996 (21 years old)

What sport? Men’s single skating

Previous Olympic appearances? Martinez made his Winter Olympics debut at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, where he was the first ever Filipino Winter Olympian, as well as the first Olympic skater ever from Southeast Asia.

How did he discover the sport? Martinez started skating when he was nine years old after seeing other skaters spinning and jumping at a shopping mall rink, and overcame asthma to become a pioneering winter sports athlete for the Philippines.

When can you see him compete? Men single skating short program, Friday 16 Feb and free skating, Saturday 17 Feb

Asa Miller

Date of birth? 14 June 2000 (17 years old)

What sport? Men’s alpine skiing

Previous Olympic appearances? Miller is making his Winter Olympics debut and is the flag bearer for the Philippines at the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang.

How did he discover the sport? Miller, who lives in the US, first started skiing as a toddler and began competing when he was eight years old after his father signed him up for a race.

When can you see him compete? Full alpine skiing schedule 

Singapore

Cheyenne Goh

Date of birth? 2 March 1999 (18)

What sport? Ladies’ short track speed skating

Previous Olympic appearances? Goh is making her Winter Olympics debut in Pyeongchang, which also marks the first time Singapore has ever been represented in the Winter Olympic games.

How did she discover the sport? Living in Canada, Goh started off playing ice hockey as a fan of the NHL’s Calgary Flames, but decided to switch to speed skating at her father’s suggestion after seeing the sport in the 2010 Vancouver OIympics.

When can you see her compete? Ladies’ 1500m, Monday 12 Feb

Thailand

Mark Chanloung

Date of birth? 9 Feb 1995 (23 years old)

What sport? Mens’ cross country skiing

Previous Olympic appearances? Chanloung is the older brother of fellow cross country skier Karen Chanloung and will be appearing in the Olympics for the first time in Pyeongchang. He is also Thailand’s official flag bearer in the opening ceremony.

How did he discover the sport? Chanloung, who lives in Italy, first started skiing as his parents thought it might be a useful skill later in life, and is more of a sprinter as compared to his sister.

When can you see her compete? Cross country skiing schedule

Karen Chanloung

Date of birth? 1 July 1996 (21 years old)

What sport? Ladies’ cross country skiing

Previous Olympic appearances? Chanloung, who is the younger sister of fellow cross country skier Mark Chanloung, makes her Olympic debut at Pyeongchang and will be the first Thai athlete in action when her event starts on 10 February.

How did she discover the sport? Chanloung, who lives in Italy, first started skiing when she was three years old as it was “normal for kids living in the mountains” and specialises in long distance skiing.

When can you see her compete? Cross country skiing schedule

Alexia Arisarah Schenkel

Date of birth? 15 Dec 1996 (21 years old)

What sport? Ladies’ alpine skating

Previous Olympic appearances? Schenkel made the Thailand national team in 2016 and will be making her Winter Olympics debut in Pyeongchang.

How did she discover the sport? Schenkel, whose father is Swiss and mother is Thai, began skiing when she was 13 and was inspired after watching the sport at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

When can you see her compete? Alpine skiing schedule

Nicola Zanon

Date of birth? 14 December 1996 (21)

What sport? Mens’ alpine skating

Previous Olympic appearances? Pyeongchang will be Zanon’s debut on an Olympic stage.

How did he discover the sport? Zanon, who lives in Italy, had initially given up skiing when he was sixteen in order to focus on woodworking with his father, but the Ski and Snowboard Association of Thailand supported him to get back into the sport again after a four year hiatus.

When can you see him compete? Alpine skiing schedule

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