KUALA LUMPUR: It has been a world of pain for our sprinters.
And national sprint coach Mohd Poad Mohd Kassim (pic) does not want history to repeat itself for SEA Games gold medallist Mohd Haiqal Hanafi.
The 20-year-old Negri Sembilan athlete surprised everyone in the Philippines when he clocked a personal best of 10.35 to win gold in the 100m last month.
Mohd Poad realised that in past SEA Games, Malaysian sprinters have failed to defend their gold medal.
At the 2003 Hanoi Games, Nazmizan Mohamed bagged the sprint double (100m and 200m) but was not on the starting block in the 2005 Manila Games due to injury.Khairul Hafiz Jantan did well to beat top sprinters from the Philippines and Thailand at the 2017 KL Games with a time of 10.37.
But the ‘Speedy Jantan’ suffered a hamstring injury and failed to qualify for the 100m event in the Philippines last month.
And Mohd Poad does not want Haiqal to face the same predicament.
“I don’t want Haiqal to be a one-time winner in the biennial Games. I want him to keep focusing in training and most importantly stay injury-free.
“We have plans for him to further improve his time when the next Games is held in Vietnam, ” said Mohd Poad.
Haiqal, who is doing a pre-university course at the Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School in Johor, will be featuring in the Asian Indoor Championships in Hangzhou, China on Feb 12-13.
Mohd Poad said that Haiqal will be competing in his first 60m event at the indoor meet.
“It will be a good experience for him as he will know where he stands among the other Asian sprinters.
“He has clocked 6.12 in training and it will be really good if he can maintain the time in Hangzhou, ” added Mohd Poad.
“There are also plans to send Haiqal to train with Russel (Nasir Taib) in Brisbane for three months in preparation for the Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Johor in July.
“If all goes well, Haiqal will leave in April and compete in a few competitions.
“Hopefully, when he returns he will set a new personal best in Sukma, ” said Mohd Poad, who has been coaching Haiqal for four years.