Negri Sembilan Open falls victim to the haze

KUALA LUMPUR: The Negri Sembilan Open Athletics Championships, scheduled for today and tomorrow at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi, has been postponed indefinitely due to haze in the Klang Valley. 

KOREA-BOUND: Ngew Sin Mei and M. Vadivellan (below) have already qualified for the Asian Track and Field (ATF) championships to be held in South Korea.

The Negri Open was the last meet and chance for national athletes to earn places for the Asian Track and Field (ATF) championships to be held in Incheon, South Korea, from Sept 1-4. 

No qualifying marks have been set by the Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU) for the ATF meet. Instead, athletes have to beat the silver medal mark of the Vietnam SEA Games in 2003 to qualify for the ATF meet. 

Negri Sembilan Amateur Athletic Association (NSAAA) secretary S. Chinetamby said they had to postpone the two-day meet due to the worsening haze situation in Seremban. 

“We decided to postponed the meet two days ago and have already informed all the national, Gemilang and state athletes about the decision. We have also informed Singapore AAA as their athletes are also involved,” he said. 

“Although the Negri meet was the last chance for national athletes to win places for the ATF meet, we cannot compromise on the health of the athletes.” 

So far, 14 athletes – eight men and six women – have beaten the SEA Games mark and will compete in the ATF meet. The men athletes are Robani Hassan (110m hurdles), M. Vadivellan (1,500m), Syahrul Amri Suhaimi (long jump), Ahmad Firdaus Salim (triple jump), Teh Weng Chang (pole vault), Lee Hup Wei, Amad Najwan Aqra and Syed Zamiluddin Syed Ahmad (high jump). 

The women athletes who have qualified are Ngew Sin Mei (triple jump), Roslinda Samsu (pole vault), Tong Song Hwa, Siti Shahida Abdullah (hammer), Yuan Yu Fang (walk) and Noraseela Khalid (400m hurdles). 

Chinetamby said they hoped to hold the Negri meet next weekend so as to give the athletes a chance to make the team for the ATF. 

“It will all depend on the haze condition and also on the availability of the stadium next weekend. We will write to the stadium board to check whether the stadium will be available next weekend,” he said. 

“We also have to wait and see whether the conditions improve by next week. However, if we cannot get the stadium by next week then we will probably hold the meet on Sept 10-11.”  

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