PENANG: It was a disappointing and lacklustre opening day at the Malaysian Open Athletics Championships at the City Stadium yesterday.
With the championships already robbed of several top national athletes who chose to stay away, the remaining Malaysian athletes put on a poor show and failed to surpass any SEA Games qualifying marks, let alone equalling meet or national records.
And the biggest disappointments were in the blue riband century sprints, where the Malaysian sprinters were upstaged by the second-string foreign athletes competing here.
As expected, reigning SEA Games double sprint champion Nazmizan Mohammad led Malaysia’s charge in the men’s 100m final.
But the Terengganu sprinter could only manage 10.86 to finish third behind Hong Kong duo Tang Yik Chin (10.81) and Lau Yu Leong (10.85).
Three other Malaysians posted faster times than the three winners in the semi-finals earlier.
Faizal Maslim of Sabah ran 10.70, while Johor’s Mohd Latif Nyat and Penang’s Mohd Alif Razlan finished 10.76 and 10.79 respectively.
All three clocked much slower times in the final. Faizal clocked 10.98, while Alif and Latif fared even poorer with 11.07 and 11.35 finishes.
Their times were not enough to beat the SEA Games qualifying mark of 10.50, the silver medal winning time at the 2003 Vietnam Games.
“I have no regrets as I was not in peak condition coming into this championships.
“And to top it all off, I was the last placed qualifier in the final after only managing 10.96 in the semis earlier.
“I may not have beaten the SEA Games qualifying mark, but I can gain personal satisfaction from the fact that I gave my all out there on the track,” said Nazmizan.
Myanmar sprinters Kay Khine Lwin (11.67) and L.L.Win (11.80) staged a one-two finish in the women’s 100m dash.
Hong Kong’s Wan Kin Yee came in third in 12.10, while Malaysia’s best finisher, Siti Fatimah Mohd of Johor, could only manage fourth spot clocking 12.30.
Siti blamed the theft of her bag, which contained her running vests, prior to the race for her poor show.
Vietnam SEA Games gold medallists Mohd Shahrulhaizy Abdul Rahman and Yuan Yufang lived up to their reputations by winning the men’s 10000m and women’s 5000m walk events respectively.
Yufang had to stave off a strong challenge from Myanmar’s Pa Pa before pulling away in the final two laps of the 12½-lap race.
Pa Pa managed to catch up with Yufang earlier despite stopping during the race to take off her running shoes and continuing bare-footed.