KUALA LUMPUR: Julian Yee's coach Michael Hopfes has highlighted just how far the Malaysian has come in his journey to become a world class figure skater.
Julian and Alpine ski racer Jeffrey Webb, entered the history books as the first Malaysians to qualify for the Winter Olympics which is currently held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
But behind the scenes for Julian, it has been a road filled with blood, sweat and “incredible focus”, said Hopfes.
"I first came to Malaysia to conduct a seminar six years ago and when I first saw Julian, I knew that he was very talented," said the former German national figure skater.
"But he was skating on a small rink (Sunway Pyramid) which he had to share with 50 public skaters. I thought to myself, how does he train like that?
"Normally in Germany, where I come from, Canada or the United States, you have specialised rinks which are only for figure skating or hockey.
"It was incredibly tough for him to train alongside with people doing other disciplines, public skaters and also the background music from the mall.
"He would wake up at 4am just to be at the rink by 5am, just to get some privacy. It was incredibly challenging but he was very determined.
“He really has come a long way and done a lot to achieve what he has today, especially as Malaysia is not a country that is not known for sports such as figure skating.”
Julian moved to Canada, where Hopfes is based, to train with him full time and have access to better facilities in August 2016.
The 20-year-old will compete in the opening round of his event on Friday, and if he makes the top-24 cut, will compete in the finals on Saturday.