PETALING JAYA: The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, could beckon for national figure skater Julian Yee Zhi Jie as he bids to become the first Malaysian to qualify for the global sporting event. In an effort to do so, the 20-year-old aims to finish among the list of the top six countries that have yet to qualify for the Olympics during the Nebelhorn Trophy figure skating competition at Oberstdorf, Germany on Sept 27. "As of now, I am only one step away from qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics. "Since USA, Canada and Japan have already qualified, so if they were to be placed higher than me at the Nebelhorn Trophy, their placing would not count in to the Olympic qualifying quota," he told theSun via email recently. Having become the first Malaysian to participate in the World Figure Skating Championships in Boston, United States, last year, Julian said it will be tough to clinch a spot for the country's participation in the Winter Olympics. "There is the general misconception that figure skating and Malaysia don't jive. "I would like to prove that it doesn't matter where you're from or who you are, that it is possible to get to where you want to be," he said, adding that it would be such an honour to be able to get the Jalur Gemilang flying at the Winter Olympics for the very first time. Currently training in Ontario, Canada, Julian admitted that being there is not a cheap affair as it is one of the best and reputable training centres in the world. "I do have a couple of sponsors to assist me. However, it is only almost the bare minimum so most of it is still self funded. "Nevertheless, I am still very thankful and appreciative to my sponsors. "Currently my parents play a huge role in supporting me although it is a burden financially. So I always try to make the best out of what I have," he said. Julian said the Youth and Sports Ministry has taken some interest in ice skating as it will debut for the first time at the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur and has provided the Ice Skating Association of Malaysia (Isam) some funding. Currently training for roughly 27 hours a week, Julian begins his routine at the ice skating rink almost daily from 8am to 5pm. "I have got two immediate goals for now. One is to have a good showing at the upcoming SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur. Hopefully I will be to add a gold medal to the country's medal tally. "The other goal would be to finish in the top six in the Nebelhorn Trophy so that I would be able to qualify for the Winter Olympics," the four-time Malaysia Open National Championship winner said. Having been on the ice skating rink since the age of four, Julian opined that the greatest challenge for people who are new to figure skating is the fear of falling and the commitment to training. "It is always difficult to overcome the fear of falling; in any sport. One would have to just have to jump over the fence and pass through that stage of fear. "Once you can get that done, it will no longer be such a challenge. It also takes a lot of dedication and hard work for those who are planning to rise up and be the next champion. Sacrifices must be made but in the end, the results will show," he added.