KUALA LUMPUR: One stole the show on the field and the other on track.
Hammer thrower Jackie Wong Siew Cheer and national sprinter Jonathan Nyepa emerged as the stars in the 95th Malaysian Open Athletics Championships to prove that Sarawak are one of the most successful states in producing gems in athletics.
Jackie broke the national record in hammer throw on Sunday while Jonathan became the new national sprint king by winning the men’s 200m on Saturday at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Jackie posted 66.01m to erase his old mark of 65.90m set in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games last August.
And buoyed by his success – his 12th time since 2013, the 26-year-old Jackie has decided to raise the bar higher.
“I need to polish my techniques and focus on my mental strength,” said Jackie.
“I will be going to Mannheim, Germany, for 50 days next month.
“The training and competitions will be tough. I believe this stint will help me break the record again.”
Jonathan was delighted to upstage KL SEA Games 100m champion Khairul Hafiz Jantan for the first time en route to the gold medal.
Jonathan clocked a personal best of 21.10 seconds but missed the Asian Games qualifying mark by just 0.03 seconds.
Khairul, who holds the national 200m record of 20.90, finished third in 21.27.
Earlier, Jonathan won the 100m silver in 10.40.
Vinoj Suranjaya De Silva of Sri Lanka took the gold with 10.27.
“I was just a whisker away from qualifying for the Asiad. I’ll train harder to fulfil my Asian Games dream,” said Jonathan, who trains under coach M. Balamurugan.