NATIONAL marathoner Muhaizar Mohamed will have to dig deep into his special commando training to ensure Malaysia win a medal on the opening day of the athletics competition in the Philippines Sea Games today.
All eyes will be on him — Malaysia’s sole representative in marathon — for a perfect start as the other events are slated for tomorrow.
He certainly has the pedigree to deliver the goods, having become the first Malaysian marathoner in 44 years to get on the podium when he won bronze at the 2017 KL Games by clocking two hours, 31 minutes and 52 seconds.
This time, armed with his special forces training, Muhaizar hopes to do even better in New Clark City.
He is part of the Special Service Group, an elite special forces regiment which conducts special missions for the government.
“When I’m not on call, I keep fit by running in marathons,” said Muhaizar, of Gurun, Kedah.
He was one of 200 recruits in his batch to join the commando course and among 40 who graduated.
His team is skilled in guerrilla warfare, subversion, sabotage, counter-terrorism... right up to jungle warfare.
Should he win a gold, it will surely be an added bonus as the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) have only set a five-gold target.
This is despite athletics contributing eight gold at the 2017 KL Games.
The five gold medallists this time are expected to be Lee Hup Wei or Nauraj Singh Randhawa (men’s high jump); Jackie Wong (men’s hammer); Grace Wong (women’s hammer); Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian (men’s 110m hurdles); and Elena Goh Ling Ying (women’s 10k walk).
MAF have already ruled out any medals from the sprinters.
“We’ve set a five-gold target, but may ight end up with eight... as three athletes are on the borderline,” said MAF president S.M. Muthu.