KUALA LUMPUR: Mohd Aftar Rosli has switched events in athletics three times in the last seven years. Now, the 400m hurdler hopes he has finally found the event in which he can excel.
The 19-year-old Kedahan started his career in long jump when he was 12 but with little success. Two years later, he switched to 110m hurdles.
He won the gold in the 110m hurdles in the Asean Schools Games in Semarang, Indonesia last year but his coach Mohd Hisham Mustaza Ibrahim asked him to switch to 400m hurdles instead.
Aftar said his coach wanted him to focus on the longer distance because there were few athletes focusing in the event.
“Coach Hisham says that there are 110m hurdlers in Malaysia but there are only a handful in the 400m hurdles, ” said Aftar.
“He wants me to focus in the quarter-mile event as I stand a better chance of winning gold in Sukma (Malaysia Games) in Johor Baru next year.
“The coach feels I also stand a better chance of making my debut in the 400m hurdles in next year’s SEA Games in Hanoi. I decided to heed to coach advice and have started focusing on the 400m hurdles since January this year, ” said Aftar.
Malaysia has only a couple of top 400m hurdlers in Ruslem Zikry Putra, who featured in the Philippines SEA Games last December, and Mohd Muzakkir Mohd Reza Khalil, who won gold in the Asean Schools Games in Semarang last year.
Aftar said running the quarter-mile event was a lot of tougher as an athlete needed to maintain a consistent speed throughout the race.
“It is the most tiring event but I am ready for the challenge, ” said the Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) pre-university student.
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