High jumper Shabana switches to heptathlon

Perfect: Twenty-six-year-old Shabana Khanum ofPenang switched from high jump to the more strenousseven-event heptathlon following the advice of athleticsconsultant Hans Peter Thumn.

KUALA LUMPUR: Shabana Khanum, who holds the women’s national high jump record of 1.78m, has decided to focus on the heptathlon. 

The 26-year-old Penangite, given her well-toned body, has been persuaded by Malaysia’s athletics consultant Hans Peter Thumn of Germany to take up the event seriously. 

Shabana, competed in the heptathlon for the first time at the Malaysian Open in Penang last September and won the silver medal with 4,500 points. 

She decided on the switch following the advice of Peter, who said she had the right physique for heptathlon. 

“Hans is an experienced IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) coach assigned to look for new talent and I definitely believe that he knows what is best for me,” said Shabana, who cleared 1.78m in the Thailand Open in 2005 to erase the 15-year mark of 1.76m set by Nor Aishah Ismail in 1990. 

Peter has been helping her in the seven-event heptathlon, which comprises the 200m, 800m, 100m hurdles, long jump, high jump, javelin and shot putt. 

“I have no problems with the track and jump events, but I am not used to the throws. I need to focus more on javelin and shot putt,” said Shabana. 

“I am looking forward to competing in local meets as my aim this year is to qualify for the Asian Track and Field (ATF) meet in Lebanon in October and also the December SEA Games in Thailand.”  

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