Coach wants Azeem to stay grounded in journey to be top sprinter

Dash for finish line: Mohd Azeem Fahmi (left) running with Botswana’s Letsile Tabogo (centre) and Croatia’s Roko Farkas in the 200m heats at the World Athletics Under-20 Championship in Cali, Colombia. — AFP

PETALING JAYA: The man who has played a key role in young sprinter Mohd Azeem Fahmi’s rise has some sound advice for the ‘Usain Bolt of Malaysia’ to keep his feet firmly on the ground.

SMK Gunung Rapat athletics coach Mohd Amir Izwan Tan Abdullah has reminded the 18-year-old to remain humble every step of the way in his journey to be a top athlete.

“Always remember not to get carried away by praises, as it can destroy what you have created now. Just continue working hard in your journey and don’t be engrossed with the attention you get,’’ he said.

“And keep improving yourself as a sprinter and a person.’’

Amir added that he was impressed with Azeem’s discipline and maturity after having coached him.

‘’He’s meticulous with whatever he does. He always researches everything. Azeem is also humble, which is important for his growth. I’m sure that if he maintains his ways, he will get to where he wants to go.’’

Azeem will most likely head to the United States to further his studies in Sports Science at the University of Houston.

Nine-time Olympics gold medallist Carl Lewis coaches the university’s athletics team, known as the Coogs.

Another university that Azeem is considering is Auburn University, known for their Auburn Tigers, who compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Azeem is also likely to be trained by a new coach in the future.

Amir said his likely move to the US would be the right step for him in terms of his development and his quest to hit sub-10 seconds in the 100m event.

Meanwhile, Azeem’s parents, Fahmi Tajuid and Norazah Ibrahim, said they are happy with the progress he has made over the years and hope that he will get even better in the years to come.

Norazah said Azeem, who’s the youngest in the family, is kind of pampered but is serious when it comes to his studies and sport.

“It’s that desire that has brought him here today. I remember when he left Sekolah Tuanku Abdul Rahman (Star) when he was in Form One and insisted on joining sports school SMK Gunung Rapat,’’ she said.

“He said there were facilities there and felt it was the right place to achieve his dreams as an athlete. We were surprised because Star was a great school, but he was always steadfast with what he wanted.”

She added Azeem would decide on going to either Auburn or Houston. “We’ll guide him, chat with him but at the end of the day, he’ll decide.”

The Perak-born Azeem recently broke the national record for the 100m when he sprinted to a time of 10.09s in the heats of the World Junior Championship in Cali, Colombia.

In the final of the 100m, he finished fifth with a time of 10.14s.

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sprinter , Mohd Azeem Fahmi , Usain Bolt


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