MOHD AZEEM Fahmi will turn into a bookworm after emerging as Asia’s third best sprinter.
On Saturday, the 19-year-old became the country’s first medal winner in 41 years at the Asian Games by taking a bronze in the men’s 100m with a time of 10.11s behind first-placed Xie Zhenye from China (9.97s) and Puripol Boonson from Thailand (10.02s).
He has promised his parents to score a perfect 4.0 in cumulative grade point average (CGPA).
“I told my folks that I will get my first international medal, and I got it. Now, they want me to get a four flat CGPA and I will work on that,” said Azeem, who studies Sports and Recreation at Auburn University in the United States.
“It is the off-season after Asian Games and it will be back to the books for me,” said Azeem, who scored 6As in his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia last year.
But first, he will compete in the 4x100m relay tomorrow. After that, he will get to spend one day with his family before flying back to US.
While happy that he had accomplished his job of winning a medal at Asiad, Azeem knows he has much to improve on to be the best in the Asian region.
“The obvious mistake I made was at the start of the race. I stuttered in the first 20m as my reaction time was slow,” said Azeem.
“My coach Ken (Harnden) and I have been working on this in a bid to qualify for next year’s Olympic Games (in Paris).
“This problem started since my false start during the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi last year. There is a worry because the sensors are super sensitive in big tournaments. I’m learning to be more careful.”
There was a false start in the 100m but it was not Azeem. His rival from Thailand and reigning SEA Games champion Soraoat Dapbang was disqualified.
“I did not allow it to affect me,” he added.
Meanwhile, his father Fahmi Tajuid is looking forward to meeting his son when he returns to Malaysia, even if it is just for a day.
“Azeem wanted so much to end the season with a medal of any colour because he has not won any since he made his senior debut,” said Fahmi.
“I have to thank Ken and also his school coach Amir Izwan Tan Abdullah.
“They were crucial in his growth as a sprinter. As parents, we are proud of what he has done and we know he will do more for the nation.”