MALAYSIA clinched the men's long jump gold from an unlikely source, Mohamed Shahrul Amri Suhaimi, who produced a last gasp 7.65m effort in his final jump to stun the rest of the field at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi yesterday.
Up to that point, the main battle had been going on between the other Malaysian in the fray, Mohd Hazuan Zainal, and Vietnam's Nguyen Van Mua.
Shahrul was in third spot going into the final round with a 7.30m effort.
The home spectators were confident of a Vietnamese victory after Van Mua surged ahead with 7.52m leap in his third attempt.
Despite his herculean effort in the sixth round, Shahrul was made to sweat as both Hazuan and Van Mua had yet to make their final jumps.
But to his joy, Hazuan only managed a 7.29m while Van Mua's effort did not count because he overstepped the board.
Shahrul claimed that his spirit was lifted by a handful of his teammates, who gave him and Azuan the cheers.
“Although they were outnumbered, we could hear them above the Vietnamese din. The support of my teammates played an important part to increase my determination to do well for Malaysia,” said Shahrul.
“I felt fired up when I was making the run up to the jump. I would call it the best jump of my life as I put everything I had into that leap.”
The Malaysian pre-competition favourite, Hazuan, could only manage a 7.34m to hang onto third spot.
Malaysia finished empty-handed in the women's high jump event. Young debutants Wong Boon Syan and Shabana Khanum Jalaludin failed to make an impact in the competition.
Boon Syan was the first competitor in the seven-jumper field to crash out when she failed at 1.70m.
Shabana performed better but was placed fourth with a 1.75m effort in the event won by Thailand's Neong Ruthai Caipech (1.86m).