KUALA LUMPUR: Hammer thrower Grace Wong Xiu Mei has denied that she has gone AWOL.
The Sarawakian, who won the gold medal with a new SEA Games record of 59.24m in Kuala Lumpur two years ago, said that she’s still active and training in Sarikei.
“I featured in the Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia, early this month and won the gold (51.61m).
“Many people thought that I’ve stopped training since I returned to Sarawak last year after completing my Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination at the Bukit Jalil Sports School in 2017.
“I’m still training under Thomas Ling. I returned home due to family matters,” said Grace.
The Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) said they could not contact Grace and believed that she has stopped competing.
“I have not gone AWOL. I still want to represent the country and will continue to do so in years to come.
“I’m still the best in the region and I want to defend my gold in the Philippines SEA Games (Nov 30-Dec 11),” added Grace.
“The Darwin meet was my first competition this year and I must admit that my effort was not encouraging.
“It was way off my personal best of 60.99m which I did in South Korea in 2017.
“I’ll be stepping up my training as I need to surpass the KL Games’ silver medal mark of 56.15m to book a ticket to Manila.
“I’ll be competing in three competitions in the next three months and I’m optimistic that I’ll be able to earn a place in the Games,” said Grace, who will be competing at the Pahang Open on June 29-30.
She will also feature in the G. Kosanov Memorial event in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on July 6-7 and the Malaysian Open in Bukit Jalil from Aug 9-11.
Grace made her debut at the 2015 Singapore SEA Games and returned with a bronze.