ATHLETICS / MSSM CHAMPIONSHIPS: Norzilawati looking at bigger picture
THERE must be a perverse logic to forcing young athletes to run middle distance finals under the blazing sun but it did not stop Nik Norzilawati Nik Wil to blitz the field in the Under-18 category.
After nearly all the runners in the girls' Under-15 1,500m final collapsed upon crossing the finish line, Norzilawati made light of the heat to win the 1,500m gold at the Malaysian Schools Athletics Championships in Kangar yesterday.
It was the Kelantan runner's fifth gold in the series and it would not be her last as she is eyeing a repeat of the 800m-1,500m double she did in Ipoh last year.
"It was not easy running this race. The heat made it unbearable. I had hoped to break the meet record but it was almost impossible to do so.
"Although I set a personal best, I am disappointed at not getting the record but I'm happy to win my fifth gold medal," said Norzilawati, who clocked a personal best of 4:53.83s which was 0.91s off K. Ganthimanthi's meet record, after leaving the field trailing far behind.
Originally from Kuala Krai, the Bukit Jalil Sports School Fifth Former is already the country's second-ranked middle distance runner after Ganthimanthi.
She defeated Ganthimanthi a week ago at the FT Open and is poised for a bright future in the sport.
"She (Ganthimanthi) is my biggest rival in middle distance. I'm about seven years younger but I am only looking to improve on my time. For now, I have the 800m race left and I want to defend my gold," said Norzilawati, 17.