Youthful Skaters Momo Khan and Mahathir Nor Daniel Shine on the International Stage at WST Tokyo 2023
BY: Michelle Liew
In the fast-paced world of skateboarding, Momo Khan, 13, and Mahathir Nor Daniel, 14, from Malaysia are making waves at the Street World Championship, World Skateboard Tour (WST) Tokyo 2023. What sets them apart is not just their impressive skills but the strategic support they receive from overseas team managers and international sports organizers. This backing is geared towards preparing these young athletes for future challenges, particularly the ambitious goal of qualifying for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
Similar to the Malaysian duo, the Thai contingent, under the leadership of team manager Kenny Reed from the United States, has also embraced the idea of nurturing young talents. Reed, a former professional skateboarder, emphasizes the importance of exposing the younger generation to international competitions. "They're going to get more experience and become more comfortable with more participation, and I believe it's important to start when they're young," says Reed, highlighting the significance of early exposure.
Anthony Clavarall, the manager of the Philippine team, initially had doubts about young athletes competing on the world stage. However, witnessing the impressive performances of young talents at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and other tournaments has altered his perspective. Clavarall acknowledges that natural talent coupled with the right support can enable young athletes to shine and develop rapidly, challenging the traditional belief that international tournaments may not be suitable for them.
Haas Aminian, the founder of Millennial, an organization that markets and organizes international extreme sports championships, supports Malaysia's initiative in sending young representatives to global events. Aminian believes that this exposure provides valuable insights into the international sports scene, helping young athletes understand the standards required and experience the essence of progressive skateboarding.
While Momo Khan and Mahathir Nor Daniel may be young, their success in local tournaments against older competitors has not gone unnoticed. Their participation in the Tokyo 2023 Street Skateboarding World Championship has not only earned Malaysia representation in the rankings for the Paris 2024 Olympic qualification but also reflects the Razkals' primary objective of developing these talents for the grand stage of Los Angeles 2028.
Aminian underscores the unique aspects of skateboarding, such as its cultural elements and the concept of traveling, which can advance an athlete's career in distinctive ways. Competing internationally allows skaters to build bonds, bridges, and connections through the global skateboarding community. Witnessing their peers succeed on the international stage can inspire young athletes, instilling confidence that they too can achieve greatness in the future.
The participation of Momo Khan and Mahathir Nor Daniel in the WST Tokyo 2023 signifies not only their individual achievements but also the growing recognition of the importance of cultivating young talent in skateboarding. With the support of overseas team managers and international sports organizers, these young athletes are not just competing; they are gaining invaluable experiences that will shape their careers and potentially pave the way for future Olympic success in Los Angeles 2028.