SAO PAULO – Malaysia’s 22-year wait for a medal at the World Skills Competition (WSC) finally ended when Airul Firham Che Amran won a bronze medal in hairdressing.
The student of the National Youth Skills Institute (IKBN) in Peretak became the first Malaysian to go up the podium in the country’s 12th attempt at WSC since 1993.
Airul Firham, 21, won the medal jointly with participants from South Korea and Chinese Taipei for the event in which China’s contestant won the gold medal while a French participant took the silver medal.
She was also named as the recipient of the ‘Best of Nation’ which recognised the best participant for each competing country.
Airul Firham was also among 12 participants to receive the medallion of Excellence after collecting more than 500 points in their respective fields.
Among the fields in competition are IT software solution; welding; plumbing and heating; electronics; joinery; electrical installations; cabinet making; beauty therapy; fashion technology; cooking and refrigeration.
Malaysia’s participation in WSC in Sao Paulo, Brazil is the best outing so far, an improvement from the attempt at Leipzig, Germany, two years ago with a collection of nine excellence medals.
Malaysia’s team of 20 participants took part in 19 skill fields in the competition held for the first time in Latin America.
The competition in Brazil which began on Aug 11 to 16, saw 1,200 participants from more than 60 countries contesting in 50 fields of skills.
Airul Firham under the guidance of national expert, Khaljaksa Khalil was elated to be the first Malaysian to win a medal at the competition which is akin to an olympic in skills.
Meanwhile, Deputy Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Abdul Muttalib said Airul Firham would be a national icon to promote the field of skills especially among youths.
He said Airul Firham, 21, could elevate the skills sector which has been seen as a second class field.
“We want the success to become an encouragement to youths in the skills sector to raise national skilled manpower,” he said when met after the medal presentation and closing of WSC 2015 in Sao Paulo on Sunday.
Also present was Deputy Works Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin.
Ismail, who is the Malaysian chief-de-mission to WSC Sao Paulo, was beaming with pride at the success of the girl from Arau, Perlis who succeeded in putting Malaysia’s name in the world stage.
He said his ministry with the cooperation of the Works Ministry would conduct a post-mortem on the overall achievement of the country at WSC Sao Paulo as well as looking at improving medal collection in the coming competition.
In this regard, Ismail said Airul Firham would be receiving a reward of RM10,000 for winning the bronze medal.
“I myself will top up the bonus with my personal contribution as she has brought honour to the country,” he said.
Meanwhile Rosnah said Airul Firham could become a catalyst to produce star performers in the field of skills.
“As a Malaysian, we are proud of her achievement and we hope to rake in more medals in future competitions,” she said. – BERNAMA