Sam Jee Lek, better known as Lego Sam, is an example to many national athletes as he has won over 80 international titles with hardly any assistance from the government.
The 28-year-old also won SEA Games gold in the B-Boy category at the 2019 and 2023 Games. The category was not in the 2021 biennial event.
He dreams of competing in the Olympics, as ‘DanceSport’ debuts in Paris next year.
“To earn my shot of qualifying for Paris, I need to win the gold medal in the World Championships in Leuven, Belgium, this weekend,” said Sam, who has been dancing since he was 13. “The champions will earn automatic slots to the Games.
“That is my best shot to qualify, as my ranking has slipped below 70. Only the top 16 ranked athletes will earn tickets to Paris.”
Lego Sam said the 2028 Los Angeles Games may represent a better opportunity to qualify for the Olympics, but he is not giving up hope of going to France.
“My biggest hurdle is the lack of sponsorship. I hope to speak to the (Youth and Sports) minister to see if she can help me,” he said.
“I do not have a coach as I cannot afford one, even though I have proven myself by winning two SEA Games gold medals and numerous international titles.
“If the ministry gives me support, it will be easier to approach sponsors.”
Lego Sam also hopes his involvement as the captain of a dance team in Astro’s Battleground Malaysia: Road to Gold reality programme will give him more exposure.
“Many do not take DanceSport seriously, but it is in the Olympics,” said Lego Sam.
“I hope my involvement in this fantastic programme will help raise my profile, too.”
The other captains on the show are Malaysian B-Boy SEA Games contender Khenobu, Danny Lee from the music group 3P (There Production), and Astro Battleground 2010 and 2011 champion, Seven.
They will shape their dancers into a cohesive unit by testing their individual skills through various dance challenges. The show also focuses on bringing dancers from different backgrounds together for street dance.
The show is in three languages, with Sherry Al-Hadad, Dennis Yin, and Saint TFC as hosts. Multitalented actor, rapper, and host, Zizan Razak, is a judge.
Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh said she supports DanceSport as it transcends all races and religions.
“You do not need much space or equipment. You can train anywhere,” said Yeoh, at the launch of the reality show.
“By partnering with Astro on Battleground Malaysia: Road to Gold, the ministry is committed to helping gifted Malaysian youths to further strengthen their talents in dance, and set them on the road to gold on the global stage.
“We want to give youths more chances to get involved in sports. That is why we have increased the number of sports from 53 to 101 in schools.
“DanceSport can be another, but I will have to discuss it with the education, and higher education ministries first.”
Yeoh said it would then be up to the schools to decide whether to include DanceSport in their curriculum.
Separately, when asked how much her ministry is spending on Battleground, Yeoh replied: “I cannot put an actual figure as it is part of a larger commitment we have with Astro,” she said.