IPOH: Mohd Zafril Zuslaini was the toast of the Malaysian camp on the opening day of the Asian Junior Athletics Championships which saw three new meet records set at the Perak Stadium here yesterday.
Displaying fluency and fitness, Zafril clocked 48.45 to book a berth in today's 400m final.
But the Pahang lad's timing was below his gold medal winning effort of 48.39 achieved at the recent Sukma in Negri Sembilan.
Running in Heat 1 comprising of seven runners, Zafril' s finished third behind fancied Mohammed Al Salhi of Saudi Arabia and Jakkatip Pojaroen of Thailand who crossed the line in 47.46 and 48.05 respectively.
Zafril has now been drawn in Lane 1 for the final scheduled at 3.30pm today.
He earned his place by virtue of returning one of the two best timings among the third placings from the three heats.
K. Amran Raj and Abdul Hadi Ruslan are the other two Malaysian runners in yesterday's semi-finals but both were a disappointment. Amran clocked 49.27 while Hadi returned 50.29.
While making it to the final is sort of an achievement for the young Zafril, this however, cannot be said of the Malaysian 4x100m quartet as they failed to finish the race after fourth runner Mohd Nor Imran Hadi dropped the baton.
Imran actually collided with an Oman runner on the left lane 30 metres after the change-over.
Asian giants China, as expected set the record smashing mood when Yang Xiaoyu hurled the hammer to a new distance of 61.57m to erase the old mark of 60.14m set by her compatriot Zhang Wenxiu two years ago in Bangkok.
Not to be outdone, Iran's Seyed Mahdi Shahrokhi followed it up in the men's shot putt when he threw the iron ball to a record distance of 19.99m shattering the 14-year-old record of 18.51 set by China's Xie Shengying in Beijing.
For the record, Sun Ke of China, who bagged the silver, gained some consolation when his hurl of 19.58m also broke the record.
The other record to fall was the men's 5,000m.
Qatar's Moustafa Ahmed Shebto easily won the race clocking 14:14.65 to beat countryman Abdul Aziz Al Amri's old mark of 14:20.72 set in Brunei in 2001.
Nasser Shams Kareem, also from Qatar, took the silver while China'a Chen Ming Fu won the bronze in 14:39.26 and 14:43.52 respectively.