THE Malaysian 4x100m relay quartet broke the national record yesterday. No, they did not.
It was just an error on the scoreboard at the Hangzhou Olympic Stadium that caused a stir.
The quartet of Khairul Hafiz Jantan, Arsyad Mohd Saat, Jonathan Nyepa and Mohd Azeem Fahmi finished third in their heat with a time of 39.40s, which is nowhere near the national record of 39.09s.
But there were excited faces among the stands when the scoreboard showed they had broken the national record. The sprinters, however, looked bemused as they knew it was not the record.
Azeem quickly clarified that it wasn’t the record and not even their season’s best.
“I think there is some technical error there. Even our season best, which we recorded in the Asian Championships, was 39.17s,” said the 19-year-old, who was the anchor in the race which saw the quartet qualify as the fourth-fastest team.
China, South Korea and Japan, who clocked 38.99s in heat two, were the top three.
“We got to the final, that’s what matters. We will stay focused and be in good condition to produce good timing. We hope to do much better today than yesterday.
“The National Sports Institute (NSI) analyst will surely help in terms of how we can further improve our speeds and baton changes as we look to go faster and hopefully win a medal for Malaysia.”
China’s Cheng Guanfeng, Xie Xhenye, Yan Haibin and Chen Jiapeng finished first in the heat with a time of 38.62s, while South Korea’s Lee Jeong-tae, Kim Kuk-young, Lee Jae-seong and Park Woon-jin was second with 38.75s.
Azeem said this was the first time four of them were running together in a competition this year and were not truly at 100%.
“We are progressing well, that is for sure. We are running together for the first time because Arsyad wasn’t in the Asian Championships. It was Thaqif Hisham,” he said.
“We are not really there yet. We have a good bond and we hope to go faster.”
At the Hanoi SEA Games last year, Arsyad, Azeem, Haiqal Hanafi and Zulfiqar Ismail clocked 39.09s to set a new national 4x100m record to win the silver.
The quartet are all fired to go, and if Azeem and Co could break their own record, they could deliver a medal today.