By Shawal Ras

Known for placing Malaysia on the map for world-class track cycling, Josiah Ng, believes passion is the key to a life of success.

Born on February 2nd, 1980, Josiah is a three-time Olympian, World Cup overall winner, and one of the most celebrated athletes in Malaysia. In 2010, he won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games and put the country at centre stage. “It’s one of my proudest achievements,” he said, reminiscing on his glorious past. 

At the tender age of 13 and growing up in America, Josiah and his friends constantly dreamt of cycling their way out of their teenage boredom. “I remember going to the library at school, flipping through magazine after magazine with my friend, daydreaming about pursuing this dream.”

The dream soon came to life when his neighbour, a professional cyclist, offered him a second-hand bicycle at what was a hefty price for a youngster, of US$250. 

“There’s no way a kid like me had that kind of money. So that one particular day I saw my grandmother baking cookies and I got creative. I asked her to help me bake cookies and I’d sell them at US$1 each at school. It was a hit! At the end of the day, I got my first bike.”

With a bike in his possession and not knowing where to start, Josiah signed up for the first competition he saw.

Throughout his high school years, Josiah trained and competed in various competitions in order to push himself to his maximum potential. This hobby of his didn’t sit well with his parents who eventually asked him to leave home at 18.

Surviving by taking odd jobs and teaching violin, at 20, Josiah finally got the chance to travel back to Malaysia and compete professionally by representing his home country at the Asian Championships in Shanghai, China.

“I was proud to represent Malaysia!”

When asked about his definition of triumph, Josiah simply stated “relentlessness” as a definitive trait, to be able to keep pushing as far forward as you need in order to achieve what you want from life. 

“Surround yourself with people who matter in your life, they’ll keep you in check.”

“Never give up when life is hard. Just keep pushing further, be relentless,” the Olympian said while sipping plain water to quench his thirst. “And remember to surround yourself with people who matter in your life, as they’ll keep you in check.” 

Josiah said that it is very important to have someone to keep you grounded. “My parents are my biggest supporters and they always keep me in check so I don’t become too big-headed and forget who I was.”

Before we ended the interview, we asked for advice for the graduating students of IUMW: He gave us a few words of motivation. “In order to succeed in the future, you gotta have the mind-set of a champion!”