KUALA LUMPUR: Every athlete is taught to dream big and aim high from day one. For how else can you achieve greatness?
But try telling that to Badrul Hisyam Abdul Manap, who clocked 10.29 in the 100m final of the Asean Schools Games in Brunei last November to become the fastest teenage sprinter in South-East Asia.
The 19-year-old has been given a chance to compete against some of the world’s best junior sprinters at the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, from July 19-24.
He should be rubbing his hands with glee at this opportunity, right?
He prefers to give the world meet a miss and, instead, compete in the Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Kuching, Sarawak. The athletics event at Sukma is from July 26-29.
No wonder athletics in Malaysia is in the dumps.
“I’m skipping the world meet because I don’t fancy my chances,” said Badrul.
Well, he may have a point. But, then again, how are you going to improve if you don’t test yourself against the world’s best?
“I’ve decided to compete in the Sukma as I stand a better chance of winning golds in both the 100m and 200m events. I also want to help my state win medals in the 4x100m and 4x400,” said Badrul, who will be featuring in his third Sukma.
He has yet to win an individual medal in Sukma.
So, it’s obvious that he’s lowering his target just so that he can fill his trophy cabinet with gold medals.
That aside, Badrul has set his sights on another target: break Watson Nyambek’s 100m national record of 10.30.
Sarawakian Watson set the mark at the pre-Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.
Badrul’s time of 10.29, which is also his personal best, was not ratified as the national record due to an error in placing the wind gauge equipment for the 100m final in Brunei.
“It’s okay ... I will set a new record soon,” said Badrul, who will kickstart his campaign this year in the Pahang Open Athletics Championships at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan on March 5-6.
“I’ve been training hard and I’ll go all out to improve on my personal best in Kuantan,” said Badrul, who is pursuing his pre-university studies at the Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) in Johor.