Sarawak's Michael Sia on his way to setting a new Sukma record with his hammer throw of 56.98m.
KANGAR: Walker Elena Goh of Federal Territories won the first gold medal in the athletics competition at Stadium Utama.
But it was Sarawak’s strongman Michael Sia, who stole the limelight by breaking the Sukma record by more than a metre with a 56.98m hurl in the men’s hammer event.
He erased the previous record of 55.25m set by Sarawak’s Jackie Wong at the Pahang Sukma two years ago.
The 20-year-old Sarikei-born Michael, who won the bronze medal at the Thailand Open three weeks ago with a personal best of 55.23m, was in smashing form on Thursday as he improved his mark four times.
Michael, who was the silver medallist in the 2012 Pahang Sukma, started the ball rolling by hurling the distance of 53.70m in his first attempt.
He then went on to improve his personal best in the next few throws – 56.05m, 56.56m, 56.25m and 56.98m. He skipped the sixth and final throw.
Michael, who took up the hammer event four years ago, was ecstatic.
“I never expected to break the record as my back was a bit stiff in the morning. But I stayed focused and overcame the stiffness to improve my personal best.
“It is the best day of my life,” said Michael.
“It was my last Sukma and I am glad that I not only delivered the first gold for my home state in athletics but also improved my personal best by more than one metre.
“It has been a splendid month for me in competitions as I improved my personal best twice in two meets in a month,” said Michael.
Meanwhile, Elena retained the gold in the women’s 5,000m event with a slow time of 25:59.38.
The 18-year-old Elena said that she clocked a poor time as she slowed down her pace after receiving two warnings.
“However, I am optimistic that I will also retain the gold in the 10,000m walk event, which will be held on Saturday,” said Elena, who has a personal best of 25:08.00 in the 5,000m.
Calvin Boon of Penang emerged as the new long distance runner by winning the men’s 10,000m with a personal best of 34:38.70, which is more than one minute faster than his previous best of 36:00.20.
The 19-year-old, who runs in road races, said he hopes to also win the 5,000m event on Saturday.
Perak’s G. Aravinthevar, who clocked the fastest time of 10.80 in the semi-finals, is expected to give a strong challenge to defending champion Harith Ammar Mohd Sobri of Terengganu in the final of the blue riband event on Friday.
Harith, who has a personal best time of 10.62, only managed 10.88 in the semi-finals on Thursday.