Lalu shows why he’s on the way to greatness

  • Athletics
  • Wednesday, 24 Apr 2019

Simply the fastest: Indonesia’s Lalu Muhammad Zohri celebrating after coming in second in the men’s 100m final at the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, on Monday. — AP

KUALA LUMPUR: Indonesia’s 18-year-old sprinter Lalu Muhammad Zohri of Indonesia is headed for greatness.

Lalu was in smashing form at the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, when he bettered his national record twice in the 100m at the Khalifa International Stadium on Monday.

He clocked 10.15 to finish second in the semi-finals and in the final, he posted 10.13 to win the silver medal.

Lalu erased the national record of 10.17 set by Suryo Agung Wibowo at the 2009 SEA Games in Vientiane, Laos.

But the youngster missed the 10.10 qualifying mark for the World Championships in Doha (Sept 28 to Oct 6).

Japan’s Yoshihide Kiryu hit the tape in 10.10 to win gold while China’s Wu Zhiqiang settled for bronze in 10.18.

Malaysian Athletics Federation president Datuk Karim Ibrahim, who is in Doha, said Lalu has shown tremendous progress in the last one year.

“Last year, he surprised everyone by winning gold in the Under-20 World Junior Championships with 10.18,” said Karim.

“He is on the right track to be a world-class sprinter and definitely the favourite to win gold in the Philippines SEA Games in November.”

Meanwhile, Malaysian athletes struggled in Doha.

Sprinter Muhd Zulfiqar Ismail, who has a personal best of 10.40, clocked 10.49 in the 100m to finish fourth in the semi-finals and failed to qualify for the final.

Two-time SEA Games triple jump gold medallist Muhd Hakimi Ismail only managed 15.83m to finish eighth in the final.

His effort was way off his national record of 16.77m.

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