KUALA LUMPUR: Despite a strong head wind, Muhammad Afiq Mohamad Ali Hanafiah (pic) clocked a season-best time of 11.48 to win gold in the men’s 100m T12 (visual impairment) event at the 11th Fazza World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.
It was a great start of the season for the 24-year-old Afiq as he has also qualified on merit for his first World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai from Nov 7-15.
The qualifying mark is 11.90.
Afiq also upstaged Asian Para Games silver medallist Shunya Yamaji of Japan in the final.
The Japanese posted 11.63 to take silver while Luis Goncalves of Portugal clocked 11.73 to settle for bronze.
Two other Malaysian para athletes won medals in Dubai.
Sprinter Ahmad Solihim Mohd Nor clocked 11.88 to bag silver in the men’s 100m T46 (amputation).
Umi Syuhadah Idris bagged bronze in the women’s shot putt F35-37 (coordination impairments) with an effort of 8.12m.
National para athletics head coach R. Jaganathan praised Afiq for his performance in the first competition of the year.
“Afiq was still in conditioning period but he defied the odds to clock a good time despite a strong head wind of 3.0,” said Jaganathan.
“I’m happy that he clocked a season-best time of 11.44 to surpass the World Para Athletics Championships qualifying mark of 11.90.
“Afiq has about nine months to prepare for the world championships and he will feature in one or two World Grands Prix in Paris and Poland in preparation for the world meet,” said Jaganathan.
Afiq holds the national record of 11.20 he set in the heats at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast last April. In the final, he clocked 11.27 to bag the bronze medal.
Afiq will also compete in the 200m in the World Grand Prix in Dubai.