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Sunday June 30, 2013

Hup Wei aiming to go higher at ATF

KUALA LUMPUR: High jumper Lee Hup Wei will be out to silence his critics in the Asian Track and Field (ATF) Championships, which begins in Pune, India, on Wednesday.

Hup Wei showed he is back in top form, clearing a season best of 2.22m in the Buehl Open in Germany last week. The Selangor-born athlete left for a six-week training-cum-competition stint in Germany last month after a series of poor performances.

Hup Wei, who won the gold in the ATF in Jordan in 2007 with a 2.24m height, was pleased to finally rediscover his form.

“I was struggling to clear 2.10m in the three legs of the Asian GP in May. But with proper and systematic training in Germany, I surpass­ed the 2.20m mark,” he said.

In the first leg of Asian GP in Bangkok on May 4, Hup Wei could only managed 2.05m to finish 11th. Four days later in the second leg in Chonburi, Thailand, he registered a 2.10m height for 12th spot. He again cleared the same height in the third leg in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to be placed 11th.

“I surprised everyone to win the ATF gold in 2007. I believe I can win a medal again but I need to clear at least 2.22m,” said the 26-year-old Hup Wei, who holds the national record of 2.27m.

Hup Wei is among the seven athletes who will feature in the four-day ATF. The others are high jumper S. Navinraj, 110m hurdler Mohd Rayzam Shah Sofian, 400m runners Anchois Aron and Kwong Kar Jun and sprinters S. Komalam Shally and Zaidatul Husnia Zulkifli.

The 25-year-old Rayzam is another medal prospect, having clocked 13.96 to clinch the bronze in the third leg of the Asian GP.

“My mission in Pune is to clock 13.86 to qualify for the Myanmar SEA Games in December,” said Rayzam, who has a personal best of 13.81.

For the record, Malaysia last won an ATF medal in Guangzhou in 2009. Then, Noraseela Khalid bagged the silver in the women’s 400m hurdles.

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