JAKARTA: Malaysian quartet of Khairul Hafiz Jantan, Jonathan Nyepa, Muhd Haiqal Hanafi and Muhd Zulfiqar Ismail have made it to the country's first 4x100m relay final in 16 years at the Asian Games.
They combined to race to the finish line in 39.59s for fourth place in the Heat 2 which was enough to secure them the last ticket to Thursday's final at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.
Malaysia were ranked eighth out of 14 nations with Japan setting the qualifying pace at 38.20s. China came in second with 38.88s while Indonesia claimed a surprise third after clocking a season best of 39.03s.
The last time Malaysia qualified for the final was through Tan Kok Lim, Nazizan Mohamad, Mohd Zaifu Zainal Abidin and Azmi Ibrahim at the Busan Games in 2002.
Khairul and Co failed in their bid to break the national record 39.27s but vowed to make their second chance count when they return for the final tomorrow.
Asked if they are seeking to improve on the previous quartet achievement in 2002, KL SEA Games double gold medallist Khairul said: "For us, breaking the national record is our priority.
"When your time is good, the result will take care of itself."
Meanwhile, arguably Malaysia's best medal hope in the men's discus throw had also gone up in smoke when Irfan Shamsuddin could only manage 57.70m for fifth place.
The 23-year-old's best effort in six attempts was nowhere near his own national record of 62.55m.
It was certainly a big disappointment considering he came to Indonesia as the reigning silver medallist of last year's Asian Championships in Bhubaneswar, India.
Iran's Ehsan Hadadi was simply a class above as he posted 65.71m to capture his fourth straight Asiad gold, five metres ahead of second-placed Mustafa Kadhim Dagher Al Samaah of Iraq.
Triple jumper Hakimi Ismail has also flopped. His best jump the day, 16.15m, was only enough to place him to seventh.
The two-time SEA Games gold medallist holds the national record of 16.77m.
Men's triple jump: 1. Arpinder Singh (Ind) 16.77m, 2. Ruslan Kurbanov (Uzb) 16.62m, 3. Cao Shuo (Chn) 16.56.
Selected: 7. Muhd Hakimi Ismail (Mas) 16.15m.
Men's discus throw: 1. Ehsan Hadadi (Iri) 65.71m, 2. Mustafa Kadhim Dagher Al Saamah (Irq) 60.09m, 3. Eissa Zankawi (Kuw) 59.44m.
Selected: 5. Muhd Irfan Shamshuddin (Mas) 57.70m.
Men's pole vault: 1. Seito Yamamoto (Jpn) 5.70m, 2. Yao Jie (Chn) 5.50m, 3. Patsapong Amsam Ang (Tha) 5.50m.
Selected: 9. Iskandar Alwi (Mas) 5.20m.
Men's 4x100m qualifying: 1. Japan 38.20s, 2. China 38.88s, 3. Indonesia 39.03s.
Selected: 8. Malaysia 39.59s.
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