KUALA LUMPUR: Hurdler Noraseela Khalid has pulled out of the World Athletics Championships in Paris from Aug 23-31. She has decided instead to take part in the World University Games in Seoul (Aug 25-30) which will be held during the same time as the world championships.
Walker Yuan Yufang will take Noraseela's place in Paris.
Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU) general manager Hamid Barkat said Noraseela decided to concentrate on the University Games as she felt she could do well there. “She felt the standard at the world championships is too high.”
“Noraseela was picked for the World Championships because she rewrote her own national record in Germany in May,” he said.
The 23-year-old Noraseela, who is among four athletes who are on a long-term training stint in Germany, clocked 58.64 to erase her old mark of 58.70 set at the 1999 Brunei SEA Games.
The others in Germany for the training stint are Malik Tobias (decathlon), Mohd Zaiful Zainal Abidin (400m) and Moh Siew Wei (100m hurdles).
“We selected Yufang because she earned a place in the Vietnam SEA Games squad by beating the qualifying mark last week.
Yufang was also picked because she is an experienced walker who has competed in the World Cup walking meet in Czech Republic in 1999 and also the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
“She has not competed in any international meets this year and needs exposure before the SEA Games in December,'' said Hamid.
Yufang clocked 1'39:34 in the second national walking circuit in Kuantan to win the women's 20km race and beat the qualifying mark of 1'45:40.
The International Association of Athletes Federations (IAAF) have limited countries like Malaysia – whose athletes have not beaten the qualifying marks – to only one man and one woman at the world championships.
Hurdler Mohd Faiz Mohamed will represent Malaysia in the men's 110m hurdles. The 20-year-old Negri Sembilan athlete was picked for his outstanding performance in the Asian Grand prix this year.
Faiz competed in the four meets in the Asian circuits - Hyderabad, Colombo, Bangkok and Manila – and bagged a silver and two bronze medals.