PETALING JAYA: Lee Hup Wei was considered a shoo-in for the high jump event at the Malaysian Athletics Grand Prix. But in an embarrassing misstep, one of his shoes cost him the gold medal yesterday.
Hup Wei could not continue his jump after his left shoe’s top surface tore after his 2.05m jump.
Representing Selangor, he was supposed to attempt 2.11m but suddenly told the officials that he was done for the day. When asked why, he replied: “Kasut koyak (Shoe tore).”
Being the seasoned athlete that he is, many thought he would have an extra pair of shoes on standby but, shockingly, the former SEA Games gold medallist did not.
For that, he could not continue and had to settle for silver. His misfortune saw Sabah’s Mohd Eizlan Dahalan taking the gold on countback. The bronze went to Johor’s Norshafiee Mohd Shah, who recorded 1.96m.
“Obviously, I’m not happy that I could not continue my jump because of a torn shoe. It’s not an excuse, that’s for sure. It’s a painful lesson, ” said Hup Wei.
He even admitted that this was the third time something like this has happened to him, and he vowed to ensure it does not happen again.
“The spike that I had, I thought it was still okay. It’s less than a year old. When it tore, I just looked at my coach (Alexandar Gasparyan) and said I couldn’t go further.
“It was disappointing because I felt that I could go up to 2.20m. My start wasn’t the best as I felt my runs weren’t stable, but when I hit form, the shoe tore, ” laughed Hup Wei.
“If I had continued with the torn shoe, I would have surely injured myself. I didn’t want that to happen, hence the pullout.”
For now, Hup Wei will not be going for any international competition and said his plan is to focus on the Malaysian Open in June.
“Don’t worry, I will bring extra spikes for that tournament, ” he said.