Pretoria-stint for Khairul and 11 others

Melakas Khairul Hafiz Jantan celebrates after winning the mens 200m final at the Malaysian Open Athletics Championship in Kuala Lumpur, October 2, 2016. GLENN GUAN/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: It looks like the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) are leaving no stone unturned in their preparations for the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in August.

Twelve athletes, including national 100m record holder Khairul Hafiz Jantan (pic) will leave for Pretoria, South Africa, in two weeks’ time for a two-month training-cum-competition stint.

The 19-year-old Khairul has a personal best of 10.18 in the blue riband event, which he achieved at the Sarawak Sukma last July.

The other male runners picked for the stint are Badrul Hisyam Abdul Manap (100m), Mohd Haiqal Hanafi (100m), Jonathan Nyepa (100m), G. Arivnn Thevarr (200m), Muhamad Azam Masri (400m) and Rayzam Shah Suffian (110m).

The women athletes are Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli (100m), S. Komalam Shally (100m), Siti Fatimah Mohamad (100m), Nurul Faizal Azma Mazlan (100m) and Shereen Samson Vallaybouy (400m).

MAF president Datuk Karim Ibrahim said that the athletes would first undergo medical tests at the National Sports Institute (ISN) before being sent to Pretoria.

“They must get the clearance from ISN to make sure they are injury-free,” said Karim, who explained that Pretoria had been selected as “it has a high-performance centre with world-class facilities for sprinters, hurdlers and 400m runners”.

“The centre also has good coaches who can help improve our athletes’ performances. The 12 are expected to compete in three to four competitions in South Africa in preparation for SEA Games.”

National coaches Mohd Poad Mohd Kassim and M. Balamurugan will go with the athletes to monitor their progress.

Meanwhile, Lee Hup Wei will be joining fellow high jumper Nauraj Singh Randhawa for a two-month training-cum-competition stint in Sydney, Australia.

They duo will leave for Sydney next week to train under coach Alex Stewart.

Nauraj has made a steady progress since training under the Aussie and he cleared 2.29m to qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics last year.

Nauraj is now eyeing a place in the World Championships in London from Aug 5-13. To achieve that, he’ll need to clear 2.30m qualifying mark.

All the athletes will return to compete in the Malaysian Open, which will be held before the start of the fasting month in June.

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