KUALA LUMPUR: Paralympics long jump gold medallist Abdul Latif Romly (pic) competed in the men’s 100m in the two-day Perak All-Comers 1 Athletics Championships just to test his endurance.
But he surprised even himself by outrunning the able-bodied athletes to win the bronze, clocking 11.05s. He even clocked a personal best time of 10.84 at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh to win heat 17.
His previous best time was 11.09, which he did in the national para circuit in Kota Baru in 2015 to win gold.
Only winners of the heats who clocked below 11s qualified for the final. Abdul Latif was one of eight sprinters to feature in the final.
Sixteen-year-old Mohd Azeem Mohd Fahmi of Perak, who broke the 200m meet record by posting 21.04 in the final, made it a sprint double by winning the 100m in 10.88.
Mohd Arsyad Saat of Johor clocked 11.04 to take silver.
The 23-year-old Abdul Latif, who is coached by Mohd Syahrul Amri Suhaimi, said it was a double joy for him in the Perak meet.
“I took part in the 100m to test my speed and endurance but I was surprised to clock a personal best of 10.84 in the heat.
“I never expected to reach the final as I was competing against able-bodied athletes, ” said Abdul Latif.
“It feels nice to win bronze in the 100m and clock a personal best time in the heats but it’s just unfortunate that the 100m event is not in my category F20 (intellectual impairment) in the para athletics event.
“But doing a personal best in the 100m in the Perak meet will definitely motivate me to defend my gold in the Paralympics in the long jump event.
“My biggest challenge will be to retain the gold in the Paralympics after failing to do so in the World Championships (in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, last November), ” said Abdul Latif, who made a jump of 7.24m to win silver in Dubai.
The Kangar-born Abdul Latif holds the world record of 7.64m, which he did in the Asian Para Games 2018 in Jakarta to win gold.
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