PENANG: The absence of top national middle distance runner M. Arul Thevar paved the way for R. Muniandy to win the men's open title in the 10km Adidas King of the Road race at Gurney Drive here yesterday.
The 25-year-old from Kedah has played second fiddle to Arul for quite some time, the most recent being the Power Run 10km race in Kuala Lumpur last month.
Muniandy's victory yesterday has given him a morale boost to go all out in his efforts to gain a place in the Malaysian squad for the SEA Games in Vietnam this December.
He completed the race in 31:22, just a second ahead of Team Adidas teammate and national marathon ace K. Baskaran.
In fact, both runners appeared to be equally matched in the final stretch but veteran Baskaran appeared to be saving himself at the finishing line.
“It was not my best performance as I did not push myself to the limit but I am still happy at winning the race.
“My immediate target is getting into the SEA Games squad for the 5,000m and 10,000m events and I am preparing myself towards achieving that target.
“My best bet to impress the national selectors would be the MAAU Open in September,” said Sungai Petani-based Muniandy.
SEA Games trainee and 2002 Sukma Games triple gold medallist V. Tiruvatiran, came in third six seconds behind Muniandy.
The women's open race was a foregone conclusion with national athlete Yuan Yufang running away with the title despite dishing out an unimpressive performance.
More than 2,500 runners competed in nine categories in yesterday race, with the Chung Ling Butterworth High School receiving a special prize for sending the largest contingent of 983 students to compete in the race.
The open winners of the KL leg of the Adidas King of the Road on Aug 24 will be eligible to compete in the regional race in Bangkok in November.
Open: 1. R. Muniandy 31:22, 2. K. Baskaran 31:23, 3. V. Tiruvatiran 32:27, 4. Mohd Arumugam Abdullah 32:27, 5. Shaharudin Hashim 33:14.
Junior Veteran: 1. M. Ramakrishnan 33:12, 2. S. Appaman 35:15, 3. Mohamad Omar 35:23, 4. Md Said Md Zain 36:16, 5. Yoo Siang Chak 37:12.
Senior Veteran: 1. Abdullah Malik 22:03, 2. G. Toiahlan 23:15, 3. Chua Say Choon 23:40, 4. Yaw Ming Kwong 24:46, 5. Lee Paik Soo 24:55.
Junior: 1. D. Tamil Selvam 20:54, 2. Samuel Johns Moses 21:06, 3. K. Nagarajah 21:27, 4. A. Varathan 21:39, 5. N. Kumanathan 22:01.
Boys: 1. R. Venigopal 21:56, 2. Edwin Alias 22:47, 3. Lee Chee Wah 23:02, 4. Sathish Kumar 23:55, 5. A. Radhakrishnan 23:59.
Open: 1. Yuan Yufang 39:21, 2. J. Davamani 39:43, 3. Emilia Jamil 41:49, 4. G. Susila 42:51, 5. Ching Lay Khim 43:33.
Veteran: 1. K. Kamala Devi 26:02, 2. Tan Chin Fong 27:50, 3. Kuo Swee Im 28:23, 4. Koay Suat Yen 31:40, 5. Cheah Yoke Nooi 32:20.
Junior: 1. Kushalini Sasi 26:10, 2. Sharon Sharmini 30:11, 3. V. Shuhashrni 30:34, 4. Lim Shin Yen 33:14, 5. Stephanie Toh 35:03.
Girls: 1. Siti Norlizawati Kawi 27:20, 2. Siti Norlizawani Kawi 29:48, 3. N. Nithiaa 31:06, 4. S. Muniamah 32:33, 5. Ooi Wan Sin 32:38.