Bittersweet victory for sprint king Azeem

KUANTAN: Azeem Fahmi cemented his status as the nation's sprint king by winning the men's 100m final at the Malaysian Open on Saturday.

However, his victory was bittersweet as it was insufficient to qualify for the Paris Olympics on merit.

The national 100m record holder clocked 10.43s to top the event at Darulmakmur Stadium, after having performed better in the semi-finals (10.39).

The 20-year-old expressed disappointment with his timing and hopes to make amends at the Kazakhstan Open in Almaty next weekend.

"Next week is the last opportunity for me to improve my timing. I am a little upset with the timing here.

"However, it was fun competing in front of a fantastic crowd," Azeem said.

He attributed his performance to jet lag, having arrived from the United States on June 9.

"I have yet to get proper rest, and my body has not fully recovered from the nearly 24-hour journey from the US.

"I plan to take a short break to visit my family during Aidiladha before preparing for the race in Kazakhstan," he added.

Azeem, who holds the national record of 10.09, is attempting to beat the Olympic qualifying time of 10.00 to compete in Paris next month.

He can still qualify based on the Olympic qualifying rankings.

Jonathan Nyepa finished second with a time of 10.54, while Efrain Feerzan Khan took bronze (10.61).

In the women's 100m final, Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli won, clocking 11.79, followed by Nor Afrina Batrisyia Moha (11.87) and Azreen Nabila Alias (12.21).

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