The Kuala Lumpur athlete improved on his best by five centimetres at the National Sports Council (NSC) training track in Bukit Jalil. His previous best was the 7.82m he did in the KL Open in Bukit Jalil last year.
Andre Anura Anuar and para athlete Abdul Latif Romly had been named for the men’s long jump for the SEA Games but Abdul Latif withdrew due to an ankle injury and Luqman was supposed to replace him but the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) did not submit his name.
Lukman’s leap yesterday was just shy of the old national record of 7.88m set by Josbert Tinus in 2007.
That record was smashed by Sabah-born Andre at the SEA Games when he leapt to 8.02m and a silver medal. The bronze medal mark of Thailand’s Suttisak Singkhon was 7.89m.
Luqman, who featured in the KL SEA Games in 2017, said that he had been upset at being left out of the Philippines SEA Games.
“I was told that I would replace Abdul Latif in the Games but I was shocked that my name was not submitted. It was frustrating.
“But I continued to train hard and I am happy to have improved my personal best by five centimetres,” said Luqman, who managed 7.27m in the World University Games in Naples, Italy in July.
“I will continue to train much harder as my dream is to compete in the Olympics. I need to clear 8.22m to qualify on merit for Tokyo Olympics.
“It is going to be real challenge to achieve the mark but for me, nothing is impossible,” said Luqman, who is coached by Ahmad Firdaus Salim.
Sprinter G. Aravinn Thevarr clocked 22.02 to win gold in the men’s 200m gold ahead of Mohd Noor Imran Hadi (22.37) and Abdul Al-Rashid Osman (22.46).
S. Komalam Shally won the women’s 200m gold by posting 25.32 while M. Tanalaksiumy clocked 25.44 to finish second while Ilice Grenggori took bronze in 28.10.
Muhaizar Mohamad, who bagged bronze in the men’s marathon in the SEA Games, clinch the 10,000m in 33:21.32.