KUALA LUMPUR: Gladys Chai Ng Mei was the last Malaysian woman high jumper to have featured in the Commonwealth Games – and that was in Christchurch in 1974.
She cleared 1.70m to finish in ninth place.
Now, 40 years later, teenager Yap Sean Yee is hoping to follow in her footsteps and compete in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The Kuala Lumpur-born Sean Yee is confident she can make the cut for the Games after equalling the women’s national high jump record last year.
She cleared a personal best of 1.78m en route to winning the gold in the fifth edition of the Asean School Games in Hanoi last June.
Sean Yee, who turned 19 last month, made her debut in the Myanmar SEA Games last December, clearing 1.70m to finish fourth.
Her mission this year is to break the national record and make her debut in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, which will be held from July 23-Aug 3.
The qualifying mark for the Games is 1.78m, which is the sixth-placing mark of the 2010 New Delhi Games.
She’s also hoping to feature in the World Junior Athletics Championships in Oregon from July 22-27. But it won’t be easy as the qualifying mark is 1.82m.
Sean Yee will use the Federal Territory All Comers on Feb 17 at the National Sports Council (NSC) Training Track in Bukit Jalil to qualify for the Commonwealth Games.
“I should have no problem surpassing the Commonwealth Games qualifying mark but it will be tough to beat the World Junior’s as I need to improve on my personal best by four centimetres.
“I’m surprised that no Malaysian high jumper has featured in the Commonwealth Games since 1974. I hope to be the first one to do it after 40 years,” said Sean Yee, who resumed training on Friday after a one-week break for the Chinese New Year.
Sean Yee described the Myanmar SEA Games as an eye-opener, saying “I must stay focused and not get nervous when competing at international level”.
“I must have self-confidence and believe that I can keep improving,” said Sean Yee, who is doing her pre-university studies at Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS).
So far, two athletes – men’s 800m runner Mohd Jironi Riduan and women’s 100m hurdler Raja Nursheena Raja Azhar – have qualified on merit for the Commonwealth Games.
Sarawakian Jironi, 27, clocked 1:50.58 en route to winning the gold in the Myanmar SEA Games, thus surpassing the qualifying mark of 1:52.15.
Raja Nursheena, of Selangor, clocked a personal best of 13.84 to win the bronze in Myanmar and it beat the qualifying mark of 13.95.
The national women’s 4x100m quartet have also qualified for the Glasgow Games after clocking 46.02 in the Malaysian Open last October, beating the mark of 49.01.