Iskandar breaks own national vault record (updated)

Iskandar Alwi poses with the electronic scoreboard which shows the record-breaking 5.15m height he cleared en route to winning the pole vault gold medal at the Sukma Games on Sunday. - BERNAMA

KANGAR: Myanmar SEA Games silver medallist Iskandar Alwi overcame his disappointment at last month’s Australian Open in Melbourne to break his own national record en route to the pole vault gold medal at the Malaysia Games (Sukma).

Perak’s G. Aravinthevar also hogged the limelight in the fourth and last day of athletics competition by upstaging Myanmar SEA Games silver medallist Harith Ammar Mohd Sobri of Terengganu to win the men’s 200m with a personal best time of 21.65 at the Utama Stadium yesterday.

Pole vaulter Iskandar, who failed to clear the starting height of 4.60m in three attempts in the Australian Open last month, cleared 5.15m to erase his previous national record of 5.10m set at the Myanmar Games.

His effort was also better than the Sukma record of 4.80m he set in the last Games in Pahang two years ago.

Iskandar was relieved to rewrite his national record after a frustrating outing in Australia.

“The Australian Open was a good lesson to me. I need to stay focus in competitions. I was relieved to clear 4.60m in the first attempt in Sukma.

“After clearing the starting height (4.60m), I knew that I could break my Sukma record but never ever thought that I will break my national record twice.

“It was my second and last Sukma and I am thrilled to improve my national record by five centimetres,” said Iskandar.

The lanky 21-year-old Aravinthevar, who only took up athletics three years ago, said that he never expected to clock a personal best time in his first Sukma.

“I’m delighted to win the 200m gold. Harith beat me in the 100m but I got the better of him in the 200m,” said Aravinthevar, whose previous best was 21.98.

“I like to thank coach N. Kalaiselvam for helping me to win the gold in 200m and silver in 100m,” said Aravinthevar, who now wants to continue training hard to be a national sprinter.

Harith, who clocked 21.46 in last December’s Games settled for the silver with a time of 21.68.

Penang’s Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli created history as she retained the gold medals in the women’s 100m and 200m.

The 21-year-old lass, who won the 100m event with a time of 12.15, clocked 24.55 to win the 200m event.

“I am thrilled to be the first sprinter from my state to retain the two sprint titles,”said Husniah, whose elder twin sister Husna, clocked 25.23 to win the bronze in the 200m.

Terengganu’s quartet of Azreen Nabila Alias, Siti Nur Afiqah Abdul Razak, Nur Farahana Musa and Nur Shahira Muliari clocked 3:49.45 to break the women’s 4x400m Sukma record by more than two seconds en route to the gold medal.

The previous record of 3:52.42 was set by Penang in Sarawak in 1999.

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