Mohd Irfan Shamsuddin in action during the discus event at the Sukma Games in Perlis on Saturday. He broke the national record with a throw of 54.26m. - BERNAMA
KANGAR: A six-week training-cum-competition in Europe has paid off handsomely for discus thrower Mohd Irfan Shamsuddin at the Perlis Malaysia Games (Sukma).
The Myanmar SEA Games gold medallist, who returned home on Tuesday, smashed smashed his own national record in the men’s discus event with a hurl of 54.26m at Stadium Utama yesterday.
It was more than one metre better than his previous national mark of 53.16m, which he set in the Myanmar Games to win the gold.
Irfan, who will turn 19 on Aug 16, also improved the Sukma record by more than eight metres.
The previous Sukma record of 45.89m was set by Mohd Hasrolnizam Yaakob of Selangor in Kedah in 2006.
But it was 14-year-old Grace Wong Xiu Mei of Sarawak who created the biggest surprise of the day when she upstaged team-mate and Myanmar Games silver medallist Casier Renee Lee to win the women’s hammer event.
Grace won with a personal best of 55.82m to break the six-year-old Sukma record of 50.69m set by Pahang’s Tan Song Hwa in Terengganu.
Grace, thus, becomes the youngest athlete to win a women’s track and field event in Sukma.
Casier, who did 53.19m in Myanmar, also improved on her personal best with a distance of 54.36m to bag the silver yesterday.
Grace, a Form Two student of SMK Tinggi Sarikei who only took up the hammer event two years ago, improved on her personal best by more than five metres in the first throw.
Grace, whose previous best was 50.66m, was surprised that she managed to improve on her personal mark by more than five metres.
“I knew I could improve on my personal best, but I never expected to improve it by more than five metres in my first attempt.
“I’ve made tremendous progress because of my coach Ling (Neng Thung), who helped me change my throwing technique,” said Grace, whose father is Chinese and mother is from Papua New Guinea.
Irfan was also surprised to rewrite his national record.
“I never thought I’d break the record as I’m still recovering from jetlag after returning from Europe on Tuesday. The weather here is so hot and humid that I had to use a wet towel to cool my face,” said Irfan, who is pursuing a degree in business management at Universiti Malaya.
“I’m all fired up to further improve my mark in the Asian Junior Championships in Taiwan (from June 12-15),” said Irfan, who finished eighth in the last Asian junior meet in Colombo two years ago.
Irfan, who has been training under Slovakian Fero Petrovich for the last three years, will also feature in the World Junior meet in Oregon, US, from July 22-27.
The third Sukma record for the day was set by the Terengganu women’s 4x100m quartet.
Azreen Nabila Alias, Siti Nur Afiqah Abdul Razak, Nor Farahana Musa and Nur Shahira Muliari clocked 46.45 to break the old Sukma mark of 47.84, which was set by Sabah in Terengganu in 2008.