Covid-19 won’t hinder Hup Wei from chasing his Olympics dream


Let his hair down:Lee Hup Wei is treating his time in quarantine as a well-deserved break.

PETALING JAYA: National high jumper Lee Hup Wei is as cool as a cucumber in dealing with Covid-19.

The 33-year-old has been under quarantine for two weeks now since he was tested positive for Covid-19 on Jan 3 but instead of being miserable with his predicament, he has treated his time in isolation as a well-deserved break.

“I was in the hospital for 10 days and then, I was quarantined in NSC (National Sports Council) for another four days. Now, I’m just waiting for a medical report to be cleared, ” said Hup Wei.

Hup Wei is one of the seven athletes who was tested positive when he reported for duty on Jan 2 in Bukit Jalil. He had been undergoing quarantine-based training in Bukit Jalil for six months between July and December before they were given a short break.

“I was really surprised. I only left the training camp on Dec 31. I just spent one day with my wife in Dengkil and returned to Bukit Jalil on Jan 2. On Jan 3, the report came out that I was positive, ” he said.

“My family members were all tested and fortunately, all their results came out negative. Being alone under quarantine is tricky but I just took it as a good break, after all, I only spend one day with my family.”

Now that Hup Wei is on the verge of being cleared from the virus, the 33-year-old is planning to hit the ground running when he resumes his chase to win a ticket for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in August. He is eyeing to qualify for his third Olympics, after having featured at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London editions.

This year’s Olympics qualifying period for athletics will end on June 29.

“Now that this hurdle is over, I’m ready to face another. It will be a challenge to qualify for the Olympics because the tournaments are limited, ” admitted Hup Wei.

“There are tournaments in Europe but it’s risky to go there as the Covid-19 situation is still quite prevalent there.”

There are two ways to qualify for the Olympics. One is through a point system and another is through ranking.

“Only the top 32 jumpers at the end of June get to qualify and I’m currently ranked 17. But without any tournaments, my ranking will likely drop. For now, we are just hoping that the situation around the world will get better. I will get back to training as soon as I’m cleared, ” said Hup Wei.

Hup Wei’s personal best is 2.29m, which he achieved it at the World Championships in 2019 when he became the first Malaysian to reach the final in Doha.

“It has been more than two years since I bettered my personal best. The national record is 2.30m while the Olympics qualifying mark is 2.33m. I hope to improve it this year, ” added Hup Wei, whose last tournament was the Sydney Classic in Australia before the lockdown in March halted everything.

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