KUALA LUMPUR: Although only 12 athletes have beaten the qualifying marks for the Vietnam SEA Games, the Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU) have listed 14 names to be recommended to the Olympic Council of Malaysia. And the list could grow longer.
We will increase the number of athletes if more qualify, MAAU president Datuk Khalid Yunus said yesterday.
We have included a couple of athletes who did not beat the qualifying mark. But let me make it clear, we are not sending athletes for exposure, only those who have potential to reach the Asian standards.
The two - long jumper Hazuan Zainal Abidin and women's pole vaulter Roslinda Samsul did equal the qualifying mark, however.
Still, the final decision on who to send will depend on OCM, said Khalid.
If they are no competitors in some events, for example, the 100m so be it, he added.
In the men's 100m, Nazmizan Mohamad had clocked 10.44s in the recent Pahang Open Athletics Championships but the time was well below the qualifying time of 10.37s.
In the women's 100m, the hopes are on Petra Nabila Mustafa, who clocked a personal best of 11.60s at last year's Sukma in Sabah. However, the teenager is preparing for her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination and may give the SEA Games a miss.
Khalid was also non-committal about the prospects of the athletes and would not set any medal target.
All I am going to say is we are planning to do better than the previous games in Kuala Lumpur, he said.
Two years ago, the athletics team managed a 10 gold medal haul.
The 12 athletes who have met the qualifying standards for the Vietnam SEA Games are Mohd Shahrulhaizy (walk), Loo Kum Zee (high jump), Wong Tee Kue (hammer), Malik Tobias (decathlon), Moh Siew Wei (100m hurdles), Noraseela Khalid (400m hurdles), Siti Shahida Abdullah (hammer), Robani Hassan (110 hurdles), Mohd Faiz Mohamed (110 hurdles), Mohd Shahrul Amri (long jump), Yuan Yufang (walk) and Ng Sin Mei (triple jump).
The final opportunity to beat the SEA Games qualifying mark will be 80th MAAU national championships at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil from Sept 4-6.
About 300 athletes are expected to take part in the championship which had, in previous years, seen foreign participation and had been called the Malaysian Open.
This year, no foreign athletes will compete because of the SARS threat earlier this year.
SARS is now over but, due to time constraints, we could not send out any invitations, said Khalid.
The national championship will also be used as the selection ground for the Asian Track and Field championship to be held in Manila from Sept 21-24.
The MAAU would draw up the final list for the Vietnam-bound squad on Sept 27.