Mohd Jironi Riduan, who won the gold in the SEA Games 800m event last year, has decided not to participate in the Commonwealth Games although he has qualified for it. - AFP Photo
KUALA LUMPUR: Myanmar SEA Games gold medallist Mohd Jironi Riduan has qualified for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in the men’s 800m event. But, he will not be going.
The Miri-born athlete clocked 1:50.58 en route to winning the gold in the Games last year, surpassing the qualifying mark of 1:52.15, which is the sixth placing mark at the 2010 New Delhi Games.
The 28-year-old Jironi said that he is happy to qualify but he has quit running in the middle distance event.
“I have switched my focus to long distance running, and competing in marathons. I have never competed in the Commonwealth Games before but I will not change my decision.
“Nothing is going to change my mind. Furthermore, I will face a strong challenge from the African athletes in Glasgow, who are just too strong in the 800m,” said Jironi, who has featured in four SEA Games since 2007.
Jironi also won the gold in the 1,500m in Myanmar.
Jironi, who has been a coach at the Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) in Johor for the last two years, said that he has started competing in long distance events such as the KL Cross Country run at Padang Merbok last month.
Jironi clocked 36:40 to finish second to national marathon champion Shaharuddin Hashim, who was just two seconds faster in the 8km run.
Jironi said that it was a good start for him and he would continue training for his first marathon – the Standard Chartered KL Marathon on Oct 12.
Besides Jironi, 100m woman hurdler Raja Nursheena Raja Azhar has also qualified for the Commonwealth Games from July 23-Aug 3.
The 22-year-old from Selangor clocked a personal best of 13.84 to win the bronze in Myanmar. And her effort beat the Games qualifying mark of 13.95.
The national women’s 4x100m have also qualified for Glasgow by clocking 46.02 in the Malaysian Open last October. The Commonwealth Games qualifying mark is 49.01.