THE Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) dominated the International Little Athletics championships at the National Sports Council (NSC) training centre in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur recently.
In the two-day championships, the MSSM collected 30 gold, 30 silver and 22 bronze medals while Western Australia Little Athletics Association (WALAA) were second with 25-26-29 medals followed by Singapore Schools Sports Council (SSSC) on 9-8-13.
The championships cater for the Under-14 and Under-15 age groups for both boys and girls.
Meet manager A. Trapadi said the championships were an initiative, between the MSSM and SSSC, since 18 years ago.
“The MSSM and SSSC take turns to organise the championships. The WALAA are invited and they always come with a big squad. The championships are a platform for junior athletes to gain exposure.
“The focus is on multi lateral. That means each athlete must be good in different disciplines — run, throw and jumps — and the vision is to prepare them in all departments and specialise later.
“We have seen several athletes, who had taken part in this championships, moving on to represent their country in international competitions.
“The athletes from Australia look forward to this event annually,’’ said Trapadi.
The Malaysian team, selected based on their performance in the Milo-MSSM championships in May, won the bulk of the gold medals from the boys. The boys won 23 gold medals compared with the girls who contributed only seven.
Trapadi, who is also the national long and middle distance coach, admitted the Malaysian girls did not fare well.
“The results are an indication of their progress. When they return to their home states, the coaches should intensify their training programme. As most of them are below 15, they have ample time to improve,’’ said Trapadi.
The championships are also unique as the teams are given the privilege to name their best athlete in the respective age groups.
The MSSM had picked Chin Poh Kuan (girls’ Under-14), Cheah Yau Chung (boys’ Under-14), Noor Shahidatun Nadia Mohd Zuki (girls’ Under-15) and Mohamad Akmal Safuan Hassan (boys’ Under-15) as the best athletes.
Noor Shahidatun Nadia won two golds with new records. Her first gold came in the triple jump. Her leap of 12.82m erased the previous record of 11.61m.
She cleared 5.87m in the long jump which was better than the old record of 5.69m. WALAA’s Blake Phillips also got his name into the record books. The Australian hurled the discus to a 57.96m to erase the old record of 53.70m.
Trapadi said next year’s championships would be hosted by SSSC.
Roll of Honour
Best athletes (boys)
MSSM: Cheah Yau Chung
WALAA: Chad Ross
SSSC: Kendrick Sinatra Hardy
MSSM: Muhamad Akmal Safuan Hassan
WALAA: Blake Phillips
SSSC: Muncheriji Zubin Percy
MSSM: Chin Poh Kuan
WALAA: Amy Braimbridge
SSSC: Lynette Lim
MSSM: Noor Shahidatun Nadia Mohd Zuki
WALAA: Rebecca Newton
SSSC: Shanti Veronica Pereira
Medal Tally G S B
MSSM 30 30 22
WALAA 25 26 29
SSSC 9 8 13