KUALA LUMPUR: Sprinter Azeem Fahmi promised a memorable outing at the Under-20 World Athletics Championships in Cali, Colombia, and the 18-year-old did just that when he set a new national record in the men's 100m by clocking 10.09s in the heats on Monday.
Azeem took 0.09 seconds off the 10.18 — the previous national mark set by former Sea Games champion Khairul Hafiz Jantan at the 2016 Malaysia Games in Kuching, Sarawak.
Going by his progress, Azeem, who was disqualified from the 100m race at the Hanoi Sea Games, is on track to becoming the first Malaysian to dip below 10s in the event.
"I am happy to clock the second fastest time in the heats. I am on the right track to dip below 10 seconds," Azeem told Timesport today.
Azeem started well from the blocks in Heat 8 and was in the lead after 40 metres. He ran a cool race to clock the second fastest time in the eight heats.
Letsile Tebogo of Botswana, who has a personal best of 9.94, clocked the fastest time of 10.00 in Heat 3.
Thailand's Puripol Boonson, who won gold in the Hanoi Sea Games in May, finished third fastest by clocking 10.20 in Heat Six.
"Congratulations Azeem!! 10.09s!! Amazing!!," said Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu on Twitter.
"Many more to come. Keep your feet on the ground, run as fast as you can and try to reach the stars."
The semi-finals will be held later today.