KUALA LUMPUR: Sabah’s Quek Lee Yong was tipped to be the top national 400m hurdler after winning back-to-back gold medals in the Sukma (Malaysia Games) in Kuching and Ipoh in 2016 and 2018 respectively.
But he has since had to face greater hurdles. Hamstring injuries have hampered the progress of the Sibu-born athlete.
In February last year, he suffered a hamstring injury on his left thigh during training and was out of action for a month.
He was back in competition but suffered another blow in April last year when he picked up a right thigh hamstring injury while competing in the Kuala Lumpur Open in Bukit Jalil.
He came back after three months but was never at his best as he failed to qualify for the Philippines SEA Games last December.
Lee Yong, who will turn 22 in July, said his national career has not been a happy one. He had planned to make a comeback after the SEA Games but the Covid-19 outbreak, which forced cancellations of meets, has put paid to that.
“I’m not sure whether there will be any competitions this year but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will stay injury-free next year,” said Lee Yong, who is coached by Ithnin Mahadi.
“I have three missions to achieve next year. The first one is to improve my personal best, which I have not done in two years.
“My second mission is to win my first medal in the Asean University Games (in Nai Mueang, Thailand, next year) and the third is to qualify for my second SEA Games in Hanoi next year,” he said.
Lee Yong, who is pursuing a degree in physical education at the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), made his SEA Games debut in Kuala Lumpur 2017 but could not finish the heats after suffering an ankle injury halfway into the event.
“Next year, it will be a tough fight for the No. 1 spot in the event with Ruslem Zikry (Putra Roseli), who went to the last SEA Games. But I am all ready for it,” said Lee Yong.