Speed demon ends 41-year wait by winning bronze in 100m race

Solid show: Mohd Azeem Fahmi (second from left) makes a strong finish to capture bronze in the 100m final. — S.S. KANESAN/The Star

MOHD Azeem Fahmi’s father was a 10-year-old kid when a Malaysian last won a men’s sprint medal in the Asian Games.

IT was in 1982 – 41 years ago – that Rabuan Pit stood on the podium at the Delhi Asian Games.

Now, the audacious young lad Azeem has done it again. And he was jubilant.

“I may have the national record, but I have not won an international medal in my career. So this bronze is special. To be honest, I never expected to be on the podium because this was the fastest race in the Asian Games,” said the 19-year-old.

“All of them broke their season or personal best to get to the final. I just wanted to enjoy my race since it was my last one for the year.

“I guess the prayers of my parents, friends and all Malaysians got me the bronze.”

Azeem, however, could not equal Rabuan’s golden feat, and he was also not the fastest sprinter in South-East Asia.

Thailand’s young phenom Puripol Boonson took silver with a time of 10.02s, which is now the fastest time in South-East Asia. Azeem, an Auburn University athlete, finished with a time of 10.11s at the Hangzhou Olympic Stadium yesterday.

China’s Xie Zhenye went sub-10s, taking the gold with a time of 9.97s, equalling his personal best.

A delighted Azeem is now motivated to take on Boonson in future races.

“He had a nice race, Puripol. He has improved so much from last year and the Asian Games is only his second competition this year. The fact he managed to get into his best shape for this Games, is something,” he said.

“This is going to motivate me to be better in the future. I look forward to racing him more often in the future.”

“This medal is for my folks because I told them I will try my best to deliver a medal. I have fulfilled my promise. This is the best closure for the season.”

The Games is not over yet for Azeem as he will also take part in the 4x100m relay on Tuesday.

“I hope my bronze medal win will inspire the other sprinters to give their best. My aim was to get the spirits high before Tuesday.

“For now, we just aim for the final and then see what can be done after that.”

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