A strong character and prioritising on duties and responsibilities given are also part of the recipe, from 1997 until now, used by coach Mohd Poad Md Kassim. Pix by Luqman Hakim Zubir

KUALA LUMPUR: Being assertive, disciplined, respecting the elders and performing ones’ religious duties and obligations is part of the recipe in nurturing successful athletes, including Southeast Asia’s new sprint king Khairul Hafiz Jantan.

Apart from this, a strong character and prioritising on duties and responsibilities given are also part of the recipe, from 1997 until now, used by coach Mohd Poad Md Kassim.

Poad started from the bottom until he received his level three coaching certificate from the National Sports Council (NSC) and the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF).

Despite the sheer ambition of a teacher bent on building towards a brighter future for his “students” at both domestic and international levels, the “students” themselves as athletes, too, play an important role.

They should not carry out training half-heartedly and instead channel their focus and energy towards performing excellently on the running track or field, as athletics is a sport that requires total dedication and commitment.

Khairul Hafiz’s success in being Southeast Asia’s fastest man in the 100m at the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games on August 22 is a good example of how coaches of calibre like Poad are needed, even though he is a local coach.

Khairul Hafiz, popularly known as “The Speedy Jantan” - is a “‘student” of coach Poad who ended Malaysia’s 14-year long wait for the 100m gold medal in front of thousands of Malaysians when he won the blue ribbon event at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil. .

The 19-year-old Melaka-born sprinter sped to the finish line in a time of 10.38s, ahead of favourite Eric Cray of the Philippines who clocked 10.43s for the silver and Thailand’s Kritsada Namsuwun who took bronze with 10.43s. .

The same venue was also where Poad’s star disciple broke the 49-year-old 200m national record during the Malaysia Open Athletics Championship on July 18. Khairul Hafiz rewrote the national record with a time of 20.90s, 0.02s faster than the previous record set by legendary former sprinter Tan Sri Dr. M. Jegathesan during the 1968

Mexico Olympics.

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