KUALA LUMPUR: The women's 3,000m steeplechase event will only be introduced for the first time in the world athletics championships in Paris in August. But the Federal Territory Amateur Athletic Association (FTAAA) have beaten Paris to it. They will have the event in the FTAAA under-over, throws and jumps meet today at the national training track in Bukit Jalil.
FTAAA secretary S. Vegiyathuman said they decided to introduce the event before the world championships to give Malaysian women athletes a feel of the event.
We also decided to introduce it because the event will also be held in the Athens Olympic next year. The event, however, will not be held in this year's in the Asian Track and Field (ATF) in Manila in July and the Vietnam SEA Games in December.
We hope more women will take up the new event,'' said Vegiyathuman, adding that he was not sure about the response they would get. However, they are hoping to see some students competing in the event.
Athletes who are good in the hurdles should take up the steeplechase event as it is an interesting event. Furthermore, the hurdle is much lower than in the men's event.
The other track events in the one-day meet are 60m, 150m, 300m, 600m, and 10,000m. The field events are the long jump, high jump, javelin, shot putt, discus and triple jump.
Vegiyathuman said athletes identified for the SEA Games centralised training should compete in the meet to gauge their endurance and fitness.
This is the first meet of the year and coaches will be able to assess the strength and stamina of their athletes, '' he said.The qualifying mark for the SEA Games is the second placing mark of the last Games in Kuala Lumpur in 2001.
Among the national athletes who have confirmed their participation are long and triple jump national record holder Ngew Sin Mei and national middle-distance runner A. Munusamy.
The 20-year-old Sin Mei of Kuala Lumpur will compete in the women's long jump event and she hopes to earn a place in the SEA Games.
This is my first meet of the year and I doubt that I will be able to beat the qualifying mark, however, I hope to give my best,'' said Sin Mei, who shattered Noraishah Ismails nine-year-old national long jump mark of 6.14m with a leap of 6.20m in the Sukma in Sabah last September.
The second year Bukit Jalil Sports School matriculation student also holds the national triple jump record of 13.20m.
SEA Games 1,500m gold medallist Munusamy, who laid off athletics for almost a year because of a foot injury, will be competing in the 10,000m.
I am running the longer distance race to gauge my stamina and fitness, he said.