'I would like to coach Malaysia's rugby or basketball team and push Malaysia onto the world stage in those sports...'
Studying towards a Bachelor of Sport Coaching with an endorsement in Performance Analysis
Coming from a sporting family – both his parents are athletes – Ikhwan says his whole life has revolved around sport and it looks like continuing that way.
‘My parents always tried to get us involved in sport and I’ve hooked into that. They have let me do what I’m passionate about as my degree,’ he says. ‘There’s nothing more I could ask from them, and I’m very thankful.’
Ikhwan’s favourite sport is rugby and he trains three times a week for weekend matches. His ideal career would involve using his degree and coaching at a high level.
‘I would like to coach Malaysia’s rugby or basketball team and push Malaysia onto the world stage in those sports. I would also like to develop a younger breed of talent onto the professional stage and make the country proud.’
Ikhwan has enjoyed his Sport Coaching degree ‘enormously’ so far, especially the practical element which has seen him practising his skills in schools and on classmates.
‘I’ve been able to learn different types of coaching styles and understand why they are used. I’ve always been interested by the different styles coaches have, and how they suit a team.
‘Being able to coach first hand is such a great experience. Although I had some difficulties handling children, it was still a wonderful experience with much to take out from. Coaching your fellow classmates is also interesting and fun. As we are all still learning, I believe that I’ll be able to grow not just as a coach but as a person.’
Originally from Miri, Sarawak, Ikhwan attended secondary schools in Qatar and Tasmania, Australia before deciding to study in New Zealand.
‘New Zealand had always been my first choice for study and not just because of my passion for rugby. After finishing high school in Australia, I started to look into different types of sports degree. Generally most universities offer sports management and sport science. UC popped up with its Bachelor of Sport Coaching and I thought to myself, “that’s something new and refreshing”.
Moving to another new country was not a problem for Ikhwan and he says he doesn’t feel like an outsider.
‘People are treated quite equally and fairly here so being an international student in New Zealand is not much different. At UC, the lecturers and fellow students are helpful all round.’
In his spare time, Ikhwan is a member of the committee of the Canterbury Malaysian Students’ Association which meets weekly, and he has joined its indoor Frisbee team. He finds there is plenty to do in Christchurch and the wider region.
‘My everyday life revolves around sport and I absolutely enjoy every minute of it. Canterbury’s sport culture is phenomenal – people enjoy sport as much as I do. Other than sport, Canterbury offers fantastic scenery that will ease your heart. The cleanliness and the weather is absolutely refreshing and I enjoy being able to drink water from the tap.’
When he is taking a rare break from exercising, Ikhwan likes watching movies and is making the most of the local food scene.
‘I like exploring where and what is good to eat,’ he says. ‘So far I’ve mainly tackled Asian cuisine but it’s an ongoing interest and up next are ribs and burgers!’