14/04/2024 01:50 PM

PUTRAJAYA, April 14 (Bernama) -- After returning empty-handed in the last two tournaments, the national men's ice hockey team is ready to create new history by bringing home a medal at the 2024 IIHF World Championship Division IV in Kuwait City, Kuwait from April 16 to 19.

Assistant manager of the team Muhd Fadzli Amin Muhd Yusoff is optimistic that the national team will be able to achieve the goal in its third appearance of the tournament, as the players have undergone thorough preparation since November last year.

“Based on the high commitment shown by the players and the various programmes organised by the coaching staff, I hope the players to give the best performance in Kuwait.

“Even though we were unlucky in the last two editions, all the players are now seen to be eager to improve their performance by bringing home a medal and become a big moment for the country's ice hockey sport," he said when met at a training session here.

Malaysia, who made their debut in 2022, took fourth place in Division IV held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and was subsequently promoted to Division III B in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, last year.

However, the national squad failed to stand out and lost all five games in Division III B, finishing at the bottom and thus being relegated to Division IV this year.

Muhd Fadzli acknowledged that the national team's poor preparation was one of the main reasons for the failure in Sarajevo.

Therefore, he said, the Malaysia Ice Hockey Federation (MIHF) has taken steps by appointing Mikhail Dolinin from Russia as the head coach of the national men's ice hockey team for two years starting last November.

He said that the 34-year-old coach's experience of playing in various international competitions is very useful for improving Malaysia's performance on the world stage from now on.

Muhd Fadzli said MIHF also recruited the services of Dolinin’s compatriot Artem Bortovskiy and Japanese Kazunori Miura, as assistant coaches.

In the meantime, he expects the national squad to face a tough challenge from Mongolia and host Kuwait in the four-team competition in Division IV, which also includes Indonesia.

Malaysia will open the campaign at the Kuwait Ice Skating Rink against the host Kuwait on April 16 followed by Indonesia (April 18) and then against Mongolia (April 19).



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