KUALA LUMPUR: Multiple SEA Games gold medallist Yuan Yufang (pic), who announced her retirement from international competitions after the 2005 Manila SEA Games, is ready to make a comeback for the Korat SEA Games in December.
The winner of the 20km walk gold in Manila, Yufang is currently in Budapest, Hungary to attend a diploma course in coaching under the Olympic Council of Malaysia-International Olympic Committee sponsorship.
According to Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU) vice-president Karim Ibrahim, apart from attending the course, Yufang would also be training for the 10,000m and 20km walk.
She has written to me on her intention to be considered for the SEA Games and we (MAAU) welcome her decision and hope she will be fit and ready by December, said Karim.
He said Yufang was a very dedicated athlete and had always given 110% in competitions.
Making a comeback is nothing new to Yufang.
Just when everyone had counted her out of the 2001 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur after giving birth to her first child three months earlier, the supermom made a memorable comeback to deliver the 20km walk gold.
Prior to the 2003 Games in Vietnam, Yufang was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and underwent laser surgery to remove a growth near her heart.
However, hardly a month after the operation, she insisted on competing after consulting the doctors, and went on to win the 20km walk gold.
Yufang, 31, is equally competent in long distance running events as she won the 10,000m gold in the 1999 SEA Games hosted by Brunei.
She won bronze medals in the 20km walk at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and the Asian Track and Field Championships in Jakarta in 2000 and in Manila in 2003.
Her winning time of one 132:25 set in Manila (2003) remains her personal best for the distance while her time of 139:25 in Vietnam (2005) is the SEA Games record. Bernama