This year the World Championships will be held in the Netherlands, in Heerde and Arnhem. In our series #Worlds2018 we will talk to skaters from all over the world and find out who they are, if they’re gonna make it to Worlds and what skatinglife is like in their own country.

In this edition: Gibran Ghazali from Malaysia
Picture: Mark Russell

I talk to Gibran on monday before his training on the track. He looks a bit dazed, due to a Greek wedding the day before and his flight, but he’s happy to tell his story. Eventhough he thinks I should maybe see him skate first and then decide if it’s worth an interview. But when he says he is 35 years old right now and only started skating when he was 28 I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be good.

Why did you start skating? “I just like the feeling of going fast. I do surfing as well. But the thing is, when you do surfing you are depend on the weather, the waves and the current. In speedskating when you don’t go fast it’s your effort, you haven’t put in enough.”

Have you been to Worlds before? “Yes three times, when it was in Asia. To be honest I was not very happy with my performance, I hope to do better this year. It’s one thing to participate, but it’s another thing to compete.”

Did you skate in Heerde before? “No, I’ve not skated on this track before, but I’ve been to the European Cups in Geisingen and Gross-Gerau.”

That’s quite a way to travel from Malaysia. Gibran: “I acually live in London, I’m an expat. I train with the junior Bont Team in Londen. I also trained in Taiwan for a year, I saved money packed my bags and went there to train. I learned a lot about skating there.”

There is a Malaysian Skating Federation, but it’s very small. Gibran is the the only member of the team in Holland. There is a junior too (17) who’s skating, he’s the speed skating prospect in the country. He’s gonna be doing the Asian Championships in September with Gibran and he’s going to the Asian Games.

What are your goals for this week and the tournament? “For this week I just want to get accustomed to the track, because we don’t have a banked track like this anywhere to skate on. Next week I want to see if I can do any better than I did last year. I have been hitting some good times this year, better than my personal bests form last year. I want to see if I can maintain progress.” In sprint or long distance? “Right now I think it’s better for sprint, because of my age. My endurance is not that great, when it comes to interval. But of course I”ll be in the marathon too, I’m here anyway.”




(c) Mark RussellDixs Pixels


Worlds will be held from 1-3 july on the track in Heerde and from 5-8 july in Arnhem on the road.
Go to (website also in English)  for tickets and info.
Do you want to know more about Worlds? Check out our Teams section on the website and look for #Worlds2018 


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