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Thursday October 17, 2013 MYT 4:12:00 PM
Thursday October 17, 2013 MYT 10:16:03 PM
by aftar singh
Hurdler Noraseela Khalid has no plans to quit and aims to qualify for the Myanmar SEA Games in December - filepic.
KUALA LUMPUR: Hurdler Noraseela Khalid turned 34 last month but she has no plans to quit athletics just yet.
Instead the four-time 400m hurdles SEA Games gold medallist will be featuring in the Malaysian Open Athletics Championships to qualify for the Myanmar SEA Games in December.
The meet, which begins on Saturday at the UM Arena, Universiti Malaya, will be the last chance for athletes to qualify for the SEA Games.
Athletes need to surpass the silver medal effort of the 2011 Games in Palembang to book their place in Myanmar.
Noraseela, who featured in the 2012 London Olympics, has been out of action since undergoing surgeries to both her heels in April this year.
Her first competition this year was the Armed Forces Open two weeks ago where she clocked a slow time of 64 seconds, which was way off her national record of 56.02.
Noraseela, who made her debut in the 1999 Brunei SEA Games, said that she would continue featuring in meets as long as her body can take it.
Asked whether she can qualify for the SEA Games, she said that it is not going to be easy as she only started training last month.
“I took part in one competition this year - the Armed Forces Open and clocked a slow time.
“I like the new track at Universiti Malaya, which is a fast track and hope to clock a good time there,” said Noraseela, who needs to surpass the qualifying mark of 58.97 to qualify for the SEA Games.
If she fails to beat the mark, she can still go to Myanmar provided that the time she clocks this weekend is the best time in the region.
Noraseela is the best 400m hurdler in the region based on her achievements.
She has won four golds in the SEA Games - Brunei (1999), Vietnam (2003), Laos (2009) and Palembang (2011).
Noraseela has bagged two silvers (Incheon in 2005 and Guangzhou in 2009) and one bronze (Jakarta in 2000) in the Asian Track and Field (ATF) Championships.
She also won the bronze medal in the 2006 Doha Asian Games.
To date, 15 athletes comprising 14 men and one woman have qualified on merit for the SEA Games.
In the men’s squad are Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian (110m hurdles); S. Kanathasan and Mohd Arif Zulhilmi Alet (400m, 4x400m); Lo Choon Sieng and Mohd Khairil Harith Harun (20km walk); Iskandar Alwi (pole vault); 4x400m (two relay runners) and six high jumpers Lee Hup Wei, Nauraj Singh, S. Navinraj, A. Kavee Alagan, Mohd Azly Ghazali and Ahmad Najwan Aqra Hassaim.
Hammer thrower Casier Renee Kelly Lee is the only woman to surpass the qualifying mark so far.
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Noraseela Khalid, athletic, Malaysian Open Athletic Championship
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