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Wednesday May 23, 2012

Athletes take wrong track

THE Federal Territory Amateur Athletics Association (FTAAA) had reasons to be disappointed with the poor response for the FT Open athletics championships at the National Sports Council (NSC) training centre in Bukit Jalil recently.

The two-day championships was a lacklustre affair with most of the national trainees, based at the NSC, skipping the meet. To add more insult to the championships, athletes, after qualifying for the men’s 400m final, did not show up at the starting block for the event. The men’s and women’s 4x400m had only three and two teams respectively.

FTAAA secretary S. Vegiyathuman said the time has come for them to review the events in the FT Open championships.

Tough guy: Sarawak’s Muhd Arif Zulhilmi (left) comes in first ahead of Mohd Idham Mohd Mahzam in the men’s 400m final.

“We have coaches complaining about lack of competitions. Here we had everything, including electronic timing, in place. Unfortunately, the athletes chose to stay away.

“We are seriously thinking of scrapping the 4x400m relays as well as other events which did not attract maximum participation in the coming meets,’’ said Vegiyathuman.

However, it is learnt that two other states — Kedah and Perak — had also organised their championships during the same period. A local coach said it was indeed funny to see athletes going all the way to Kedah when the FT Open was at the doorsteps of NSC.

“All the states should also get together to plan their competition schedule. We were informed that four states will be organising their open championships on the same days next week. If this is how they are going to organise athletics championships, then all the meets will be failures.

Fastest: Mohd Fahmee (left) and Elena with their prizes.

“But I feel all the athletes, based at NSC, should have taken part in the FT Open,’’ said the coach.

Despite the shortcomings, there were some athletes who gave a good account in the championships. Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS0 students — Mohd Fahmee Zam Zam and Elena Goh — were voted as the Best Male and Female athletes of the championships.

Mohd Fahmee was presented with the award for his gold medal winning effort in the men’s pole vault. The youngster, who is currently preparing for the Malaysia Games in Kuantan, Pahang, cleared 4.30m to finish as the winner.

Elena showed her potential by winning the gold medal in the women’s 20,000m walk. She clocked an impressive 1’52:48 to finish almost two minutes ahead of international Norliana Muhd Rusni, who had represented Malaysia the SEA Games in Jakarta last year. Norliana was timed 1’54:18.

Vegiyathuman said the championships also served as a selection base to identify their athletes for the Malaysia Games.

“The coaching and selection committees will review FT athletes’ performances in the championships. We will name the FT team for the Malaysia Games within the next few weeks,’’ added Vegiyathuman.


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