KUALA LUMPUR: National discus thrower Muhd Irfan Shamsuddin (pic) seems to thrive in the highly-competitive atmosphere in Europe.
Irfan, who left for Europe on May 6 for a 53-day training-cum-competition stint, broke his own national record in the Under-23 Hallesche Werfertage Championships in Halle, Germany, on Monday.
The 22-year-old Irfan hurled the discus to a new distance of 61.10m to finish third among 18 participants. It erased his own mark of 59.29m set in the Slovak Clubs Championships in Samorin, Slovakia, last June.
Irfan’s effort also surpassed the SEA Games record of 59.50m set by Singapore’s James Wong Tuck Yim in the Brunei SEA Games in 1999.
Germany made it a 1-2 finish through Clemens Prufer (62.29m) and Torben Brandt (62.09m).
Last year, Irfan did the same when he was in Europe for a six-week training-cum-competition stint. Then, he rewrote his own national record three times.
Irfan was more than pleased with his latest effort.
“It was my first competition in Europe ... and I started off with a bang,” said the burly athlete in a telephone interview yesterday.
“My aim was to break the 60-metre barrier ... so I’m happy to have improved it by almost two metres.
“It feels good that my effort is better than the SEA Games record. It augurs well for my preparation for the KL SEA Games in August.
“With the intensive training in Europe, I believe I can do a lot better in competitions this year.
“Last year, I rewrote the records three times in Europe. I hope I can do the same this year,” added Irfan, who is gunning for a third consecutive gold medal in the SEA Games.
Last year, he first broke his record with a hurl of 58.33m at the same tournament in Halle in May. It erased his old mark of 58.04m set in the Malaysian Open in 2015.
Then, a week later, he hurled the discus 58.48m at the Liese Prokop Memorial Open Athletics Champion-ships in St Polten, Austria, before achieving 59.29m in Slovakia.