KUCHING: National sprint king, Khairul Hafiz Jantan remains determined to break the 48-year-old 200 metre National record despite failing in his first bid at the 18th SUKMA today.
Khairul who was aiming to smash the 20.92s record held by Tan Sri Dr M Jegathesan since the 1968 Mexico Olympics, in the men’s 200m final today, managed to clock only 21.03 seconds after a poor start.
The sprinter from Melaka has a personal best of 21.00s which was set during the 17th Asian Youth Athletics Championship in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, last month promised to work hard to continue his mission to eclipse Jegathesan’s record.
“God willing, I will break one of the oldest standing National records in Malaysian athletics history but I do not know when. If I continue to compete with top class athletes, I believe I can break the record.
“My start was not right today, my starting was slow..So, after this (I) have to train harder to overcome the problem. My main focus after this is to dip below 21 seconds,” he told reporters after the prize presentation ceremony.
Earlier, Khairul Hafiz claimed the gold medal in the event after renewing his own SUKMA record of 21.14s which was set yesterday.
The 18-year-old sprinter also conceded that the change in schedule for the event from evening to morning and the hot weather could have been reasons for his failure to go faster.
The young athlete has become a household name after he broke the 18-year-old National 100m record of 10.30s held by Sarawakian Watson Nyambek with a new time of 10.18s on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Aqil Yasmi pulled off a pleasant surprise by beating Badrul Hisyam of Melaka and Jonathan Nyepa from Sarawak who were touted to give Khairul Hafiz a run for his money, to win the silver medal with a time of 21.31s.
Nyepa who was awarded the silver medal in the 100m after a photo finish when he and Badrul hit the tape together, came home in third place with a time of 21.34s while Badrul could only manage fourth spot with 21.56s.
“This is my choice event and I am able to do my best due to the effort and prayers of my parents and coaches. I actually came to SUKMA to improve my personal record but the medal is a bonus.
“I will continue to strive and train under my coach after this,” said Muhammad Aqil, a Sport Science student at Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM).
The four sprinters are expected to renew their rivalry at the National Open Athletics Championship in September.
In the women’s 200m event, Noor Eewan Syafiqah Mohd Sabri of Perak also broke the 14-year-old record by clocking 24.31s against the 24.37s set by Petra Nabila Mustafa of Negeri Sembilan.
Her teammate, Shereen Samson Vallabouy won the silver medal after crossing the finishing line with a time of 25.02s while Fathin Faqihah Mohd Yusuf of Sabah took the bronze with 25.50s. --BERNAMA