KUALA LUMPUR: Ngew Sin Mei (pic) started out as a sprinter but found her niche in jumping three years ago.
It has turned out to be Malaysia's gain in the field events of athletics and Sin Mei will be out to create history when she makes her debut in the SEA Games in Vietnam next month.
The 20-year-old Sin Mei, who holds the national triple jump record of 13.30m, believes she stands a good chance to bag a medal if she can hit the same mark.
“I can come near or jump farther than 13.30m, it should be good enough to win a medal,” said the 1.68m tall lass, who began her athletics career as a 100m and 200m runner.
“This will be my first SEA Games and I will be happy with a medal of any colour.”
No Malaysian woman has managed to win a medal in the triple jump since the event was introduced in the Chiang Mai Games in 1995.
Sin Mei has been breaking records effortlessly since she joined the Bukit Jalil Sports School last year. Being in the school has enabled her to join national centralised training at the National Sports Complex.
The second-year matriculation student first broke the national record in the Selangor Open in June last year with a distance of 12.69m, erasing the old mark of 12.68m set by Nor Aishah Ismail in 1995.
She was on a roll from then on. A month later, she rewrote the record with a leap of 12.80m in the Kelantan Open.
The Kelantan-born Sin Mei went on to shatter the record again with a 12.86m effort in Sukma (Malaysia Games) in Kota Kinabalu in September last year and the effort won her the Best Woman Athlete Award.
In the Asian Junior Championships in Bangkok last November, Sin Mei broke the 13m barrier, chalking up a distance of 13.20m.
She set her latest mark of 13.30m when she was on a one-month training stint in Germany in June and it earned her a place in the team for the Vietnam Games.
Sin Mei does not consider herself a favourite for the gold medal.
“The triple jumpers from Thailand and Vietnam will be the ones to watch out for,” she said.
For comparison, the current Games record is 13.46m and it was set by Thailand's Wacharee Rittiwat in the KL Games in 2001. The silver-medal winning mark is 13.09m, set by Vietnam's Phan Thi Tu Lan.
Sin Mei is expecting both athletes to be there in Hanoi.
She will also compete in the long jump as well but Sin Mei does not think that she will be among the medal winners.
“My best effort is 6.37m and I do not think it is good enough to win a medal,” said Sin Mei, who currently trains under Russian Yury Stonikov.