Faizal beats the odds to make final of blue riband event


Mohd Faizal Maslim

HIGH fever and a nosebleed just before the start of his race did not stop Malaysian sprinter Mohd Faizal Maslim from qualifying for the 100m final. 

Faizal squeezed into today’s final after securing the eighth and last spot with a poor time of 10.88 in the semi-finals yesterday. 

The 2004 Sukma (Malaysia Games) 100m champion admitted that he would need to buck up fast to pose a serious threat in the final. 

He was down with high fever on Saturday and told to take a complete rest and pull out of the event. 

But he was determined not to forego the chance to compete with the best in the region. 

“I admit that it was a terrible performance but my main objective was to get into the final. My body was burning and my nose was bleeding when I got up this morning,” said Faizal. 

“But I was determined not to let months of hard work go to waste and relied on my will power alone to push my body through the race.” 

He finished fourth in the first semi-final won by Indonesia’s Suryo Agung Wibowo (10.57) and qualified by a mere 0.02 seconds ahead of the ninth-placed Ralph Soguilon of the Philippines. 

The 22-year-old Sabahan, who is making his debut in the Games as a Category B athlete, has a personal best of 10.50. 

“I will return to the hotel now and try to get as much rest as possible. I believe that I will feel a little better for the final,” said Faizal. 

Besides the 100m final, he will also run in the 4x100m race today. 

Malaysia have a good chance of winning at least two of the 14 gold medals on offer today. 

Moh Siew Wei will start as the favourite in the women’s 100m hurdles while youngsters Lee Hup Wei and Mohd Najwan Aqra look good enough to continue Malaysia’s domination in the men’s high jump following the retirement of Loo Kum Zee. 

Mohd Syahrul Amri, who secured a surprise gold medal for Malaysia in the men’s long jump in Vietnam two years ago, will also be among the top contenders for medals. 

The other Malaysians in action today are Shahadan Jamaludin (men’s 400 hurdles), Mohd Robani Hassan and Muhd Faiz Mohammad (men’s 110m hurdles), D. Jayakumar (men’s 800m) and Vally Michael (women’s 800m). 

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