KUALA LUMPUR: Middle distance runner Putra Azrul Syazman Azman’s debut at the Philippines SEA Games last December is one to be deleted from his memory.
The 23-year-old Putra clocked a poor 1:53.40 to finish seventh in the men’s 800m final at the Games in Manila.
It was a far cry from his personal best of 1:51.87, which he did in the Malaysian Closed in Bukit Jalil last August, to qualify for the Games.
Due to his poor form, Putra’s contract with the National Sports Council (NSC) was not extended after it expired in March.
The 2018 Malaysia Games (Sukma) gold medallist now wants to regain his place and qualify for next year’s SEA Games in Hanoi.
The qualifying time for next year’s SEA Games is 1:50.17, which is the silver medal winning mark.
“I have to clock close to 1:50.00 to beat the mark and it is not easy. But I am not giving up hope as I have until August next year to achieve it, ” said Putra, who is pursuing a degree in sports science at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).
“I did my personal best of 1:52.50 at the 2018 Sukma and it took almost a year to improve it to 1:51.87 in the Malaysian Closed in Bukit Jalil last August.
“I am banking on my coach Simon Lau, who has been training me for the last two years, to help me qualify for my second SEA Games.
“I will also compete in the 400m in competitions next year as it will help me improve my strength and endurance for the 800m event, ” added Putra, who hopes to start training after the movement control order (MCO) ends on June 9.
The other Malaysians who will also be hoping to qualify for the next year’s SEA Games are national champion and two-time SEA Games gold-medal winner Royson Vincent and Asif Rahman Jiyadeen.
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