Winning a gold medal at the 94th Malaysia Athletic Federation (MAF) Open was still not good enough for pole vaulter Muhd Afiq Ahmad Alham as he feels that he still has some way to go for his personal best.
The youngster made it look so easy when he jumped to the gold with a height of 4.40m – a 0.35m difference from silver medallist Muhd Arif Haiqal Mohd Azizi.
But Muhd Arif said afterwards that his jump was far from his personal best of 4.9m.
“It’s just unfortunate that even though I’ve been training hard, I ran into injuries from time to time. Despite winning the gold here, I don’t feel encouraged as I had felt that it was well below my personal best,” said Muhd Arif.
“But I hope that by winning this gold medal here, it will give me an opportunity to participate in the Games. I believe thay I can exceed the 5m mark.”
GOLD – Muhd Afiq Ahmad Alham – 4.40m
SILVER – Muhd Arif Haiqal Mohd Azizi – 4.05m
BRONZE – Muhd Luqman Mohd Zuki – 4.00m
In the men’s high jump, the absence of the big names have allowed Mohd Ashraf Saipu Rahman to the gold in spite of a jump of just 2.11m.
It is still way below Ashraf’s best of 2.16m this year, and well below that of two national jumpers – Nauraj Singh Randhawa (2.30m) and Lee Hup Wei (2.24m).
According to Ashraf, defending champion and two-time SEA Games gold medallists Nauraj (2013 and 2015) will be accompanied by three-time SEA Games gold medallist Lee Hup Wei (2007, 2009, 2011) in the KL2017 Games.
“To participate at the SEA Games, I had to jump at 2.25m and above as our second best jumper Hup Wei has a personal best of 2.24m,” said Ashraf.
GOLD – Muhd Ashraf Saipu Rahman – 2.11m
SILVER – Norshafiee Md Shah – 2.11m
BRONZE – Muhd Syazwan Ahmad – 2.09m
Malaysia also won the women’s high jump gold, through Yap Sean Yee -national record holder of 1.79m – with 1.72m.
Narcisa Atienza of the Philippines came in second with a silver – a tied 1.64m with bronze medallist Nurul Falena Gunasekera.
In the meantime, Thailand made it a one-two in the men’s discus through Narong Benjareen (49.91m) and Aroonsil Malasri (47.42m).
With the absence of two-time SEA Games gold medallist Muhd Irfan Shamsuddin (2013 and 2015), Malaysia only had Muhd Afifi Najiy Ali of Negri Sembilan to win the bronze with a 44.17m.
The Thais also made it a one-two in the Shot Put off Areerat Intadis (14.78m) and Sawitri Thongchao (14.24m) for gold and silver respectively.
Rahilah Othman of Johor took bronze with a 13.12m.
The Philippines on the other hand won the women’s discus, through Reah Joy Sumalpong (44.11m) as she pushed Malaysia’s Yap Jeng Tzan to the silver with 43.23m.
The bronze medal went to Choo Kang Nie with 43.19m.
“I am aiming to break my personal record (47.79m). At the SEA Games, I believe it is a challenge so I will give it my best.
“There are only three women in the Southeast Asian region who have exceeded the 50m mark and I’m not far away from it. So I am determined to do better in order to reach the 50m target,” said Yap.
GOLD – Reah Joy Sumalpong (Phi) – 44.11m
SILVER – Yap Jeng Tzan (Mas) – 43.23m
BRONZE – Choo Kang Nie (Mas) – 43.19m
– BY ALVIN OH