PENANG: On a day Malaysia bagged four gold medals at the Singapore Open Track and Field Championships, it was unfortunate that sprinter Khairul Hafiz Jantan could only deliver a silver.
Malaysia, who also bagged three silvers and four bronzes at the Singapore Sports Hub yesterday, got their golds through Mohd Hakimi Ismail (men’s triple jump); Yap Jeng Tzan (women’s discus); Ahmad Luth Hamizan (men’s 1,500m); and Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli, S. Komalam Shally, Nurul Faizah Asma Mazlan and Siti Fatimah Mohd (women’s 4x100m).
But Khairul, who underwent a two-month training stint in Pretoria, South Africa, could only clock 21.51 to finish second behind Thailand’s Jirapong Meerapra (21.33) in the 200m final.
Khairul’s effort was below his personal best of 21.02 set in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, last year.
This is a championship to forget for Khairul, who also finished a disappointing seventh with a poor time of 10.86 in the 100m final. It was way off his national mark of 10.18.
Coach Mohd Paod Mohd Kassim, however, isn’t too worried.
“I want him (Khairul) to peak during the SEA Games in August,” he said.
“He did not clock a good time in Singapore because he had to run the 200m final in the morning and then compete in the 100m in the afternoon. The 200m final race was postponed to today due to heavy rain on Thursday evening.”
Luckily, the others delivered.
Hakimi achieved a season best 16.32m to win gold in the men’s triple jump, although it was still way off his national mark of 16.76m set in the Singapore SEA Games in 2015.
Hakimi was pleased with his performance, especially since he had only recovered from his ankle injury earlier this month.
Jeng Tzan won Malaysia’s second gold of the day in women’s discus with an effort of 45.98m.
Ahmad then clocked 3:57.86 to win the third gold in the men’s 1,500m.
The women’s quartet of Zaidatul, Komalam, Nurul Faizah and Siti Fatimah did well to retain the 4x100m gold they won last year. The Malaysians clocked 46.01 to finish ahead of the Singaporeans (46.06).
Apart from Khairul’s second placing, the other silver medals came from Zaidatul (23.94 in women’s 200m) and Badrul Hisyam Abdul Manap (47.99 in men’s 400m).
The four Malaysian bronze medallists yesterday were G. Arvinn Thevarr (21.61 in men’s 200m); Komalam (24.30 in women’s 200m); Iskandar Alwi (4.80m in men’s pole vault); and Chuah Yu Tian (3.40m in women’s pole vault).
On Thursday, Nauraj Singh Randhawa soared 2.30m to rewrite his national high jump record and qualify for the World Championships in London from Aug 3-14.