SPRINT sensation Mohd Azeem Fahmi is an Asian Games champion in the making and has the quality to break the 10s barrier.
That is how confident the 1966 Asiad sprint double gold medallist Tan Sri Dr. M. Jegathesan (pic) is after witnessing Azeem end Malaysia’s 41-year wait for a medal in the men’s 100m sprint.
Dr Jegathesan said Azeem has the self-belief to achieve the goals.
True to his nickname as ‘The Flying Doctor”, the former Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) deputy president had rushed to the Hangzhou Olympic Stadium from a nearby venue to witness the men’s 100m final on Saturday.
And Dr. Jegathesan wasn’t disappointed as he witnessed one of the finest races in Asiad history and was also able to see Malaysia’s next sprinting prodigy in action.
China’s Xie Zhenye swept the field with a wind-assisted 9.97s while Thailand’s Puripol Boonson was second (10.02) but the talk of the town was Azeem who clocked 10.11 to announce his arrival on the international stage.
Datuk Rabuan Pit was the last Malaysian to finish on podium in the men’s 100m after securing gold in New Delhi in 1982.
“It was a delight to see Azeem winning a medal at the Asiad,” said Dr. Jegathesan, who turns 80 next month and is at Asian Games as the adviser of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) medical and anti-doping commission.
“It was a brilliant achievement considering he is only 19 as far as the lifespan of a sprinter is concerned, he has many more great years ahead of him.
“Of course, he has all the qualities to win gold at the Asian Games and also compete at the Olympics but he must have the self-belief that he can achieve that.
“He is not at the age of peaking yet and still has got room for improvement with proper coaching support, determination and discipline.
“Azeem had been clocking consistently below 10.20 since setting the new national record (10.09) last year and he did well to earn the medal.”
Currently holding the national record of 10.09s, Dr Jegathesan believes the youngster from Perak has what it takes to dip below the 10s barrier.
“I don’t see a reason why he cannot achieve it (sub 10s). His advantage is that he is way below his peaking time and he is going to run faster in the coming years,” said Dr Jegathesan.
“Azeem must continue with the same kind of enthusiasm, should exactly know his goals and keep working towards those goals.”
Azeem will be 22 when the 2026 Asiad is held in Nagoya and the Malaysian, attached to the University of Auburn in Alabama, should be pushing for gold.
As Dr. Jegathesan has highlighted, Azeem has several other Asiads to try and achieve his objective of joining him and Rabuan as the future Asiad champion.
He will have another objective at the Games where he will lead the Malaysian 4x100m relay quartet at the Hangzhou Olympic Stadium tomorrow.