Quartet grab bronze and break 30-year-old relay record

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia ended their campaign in the 18th Asian Junior Athletics Cham­pionships in Gifu, Japan in style when the boys’ 4x400m delivered a double delight.

The quartet of Luqmanul Hakim Khairul Akmal, Muhd Ilham Suhaimi, Muhd Saiful Saf­wan Saifuddin and Abdul Wafiy Roslan blazed the track to set a new national junior record of 3:09.60 en route to winning a bronze at the Nagaragawa Sta­dium yesterday.

They were two seconds faster than a 30-year-old record of 3:12.45 set by foursome of Patrick Khoo Ghee Wong, Edward Jaipal, John Petruse and Sean Paul in Singapore in 1988.

Sri Lanka won the gold by clocking 3:08.70 while Thailand settled for the silver with a time of 3:09.20.

Malaysia ended the four-day meet with two bronze medals. The other medal winner was Muhd Zulfiqar Ismail in the boys’ 100m (10.46) last Friday.

It was a sad ending for sprinter Muhd Haiqal Hanafi in the boys’ 200m final when the Negri Sembilan-born clocked 21.71 to finish a disappointing eighth and last.

His time was slower than his personal best of 21.38 he did in the Malaysian Open at National Stadium in Bukit Jalil last month.

Taiwan’s Wei Tai-Sheng crossed the finishing line in 21.05 to win gold while Shin Min-kyu of South Korea took the silver (21.06). Jasuteinjunoei Tsukamoto of Japan did a personal best of 21.09 to bag the bronze.

National coach Mohd Poad Mohd Kassim praised the relay runners for breaking the 30-year-old record.

“They were in smashing form in improving the previous record by almost three seconds. We’ve talented 4x400m relay runners,” said Poad, who was also pleased with the team’s overall performance.

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