Nauraj confident of retaining SEA Games gold

National high jumper Nauraj Singh in action during the 2013 Myanmar SEA Games where he won the gold medal. - Filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: High jumper Nauraj Singh Randhawa’s New Year resolution is not only to retain the gold medal at the Singapore SEA Games in June.

The lanky Johor Baru-born athlete also wants to improve his personal best of 2.21m, which he achieved en route to the gold at the Malaysian Open in Kangar last June.

Nauraj made a memorable debut at the 2013 Myanmar SEA Games, clearing 2.17m to bag the gold. He attempted to break the SEA Games record of 2.24m but failed in all three attempts.

He qualified for this year’s Singapore SEA Games after clearing 2.19m to win the bronze at the Singapore Open last August.

“My mission this year is to improve on my personal best as well as break the SEA Games record. To achieve that I have to train a lot harder.

“I don’t believe the other high jumpers from South-East Asia can challenge me for the gold in Singapore,” said Nauraj.

The 22-year-old is eager to make amends after failing miserably at both the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games last year.

He only managed to clear 2.06m at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow to be placed 19th out of 24 participants. At the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, he cleared 2.15m to finish 14th out of 19 competitors.

“I hope to compete in as many meets as possible in the run-up to the Singapore Games. The only local meet I’ve confirmed taking part in is the Malaysian Open (at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil from March 26-29),” said Nauraj, who is coached by Uzbekistan’s Alim Ahmejanov for the last eight years.

Ahmejanov is confident Nauraj will better his personal best in Singapore.

“He just needs to improve his techniques,” said Ahmejanov.

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