Mohd Khairil buries ghost of SEA Games past

National walker Mohd Khairil Harith Harun is all smiles after winning the bronze in the men's 20km race at the Singapore SEA Games on Saturday. - FAIHAN GHANI/ The STAR

SINGAPORE: Two years ago, he lost the bronze after being disqualified for “floating” – just 200m away from the finish line.

On Saturday, Mohd Khairil Harith Harun buried the ghost of the Myanmar SEA Games disaster, and got his reward at the Singapore Games.

The Kelantan-born athlete won the bronze in the men’s 20km walk after clocking 1’40:56 at the East Coast Park. It was way off his personal best of 1’29:40 for the 10-lap race.

Eight athletes took part in the event and Indonesia’s Hendro retained the gold in 1’34:22 while Vietnam’s Vo Xuan Vinh took silver in 1’38:37.

Khairil also had the satisfaction of achieving the bronze in front of his coach A. Subramaniam, who paid his own way to Singapore.

The 23-year-old Khairil was relieved for his first Games medal – but not his time.

“It was more than 11 minutes slower than my personal best. Anyway, I’m glad I won the medal for my coach Subramaniam ... he was excluded from the SEA Games contingent at the last minute,” said Khairil.

Subramaniam was pleased for Khairil.

“I’m happy that Khairil won the bronze. He is only 23 ... with more training and competitions, he can do much better at the KL SEA Games in 2017,” said Subramaniam.

Six competitors featured in the women’s 20km walk and Malaysia’s Elena Goh clocked a poor 1’51.26 to finish fourth on her debut. Her personal best is 1’42:55.

Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Thanh Phuc (1’45:19) took gold and Myanmar’s Soe Than Than (1’46.59) the silver. Vietnam’s Phan Thi Bich Ha (1’48.22) settled for bronze.

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