HIGH jumper Lee Hup Wei (pic) hopes the ghost of the past will not haunt him in the Korat SEA Games.
The Dengkil athlete was favourite to win the gold in the 2005 Manila SEA Games after chalking up a personal best of 2.20m in the Sipma (Malaysian Education Institute of Sports) meet in Seremban prior to the Games.
He was then ranked No.1 in the region but endured a miserable outing, managing only 2.11m to finish in fifth place. His compatriot, Ahamd Najwan Aqra, also cleared 2.11m to finish sixth,
It was the first time since 1977 that a Malaysian had failed to win the high jump event in the biennial Games.
For the Korat Games, Hup Wei is again the favourite after setting a personal best of 2.24m to bag the gold medal in the Asian Track and Field (ATF) Championships in Jordan in July.
His effort also equalled the national record set by Loo Kum Zee in the 1995 Chiang Mai SEA Games.
Hup Wei, however, is worried that history might repeat itself in Korat. The pressure definitely will be on me to win the gold in Korat. It will be a big blow to me if I fail to do so based on my performance in the ATF meet.
I am also quite concerned about my inconsistent form in international meets. I have not recorded a good jump since my effort in the ATF meet, said Hup Wei.
In the Thailand Open in October, he only managed 2.15m, which was good enough to win the gold medal.
In the NSC-MAAU All-Comers championships at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil last month, Hup Wei also managed a 2.15m to win the gold medal.
Hup Wei said that Cuban coach Antonio Yznagar Ibar was helping him fine-tune his jumping technique, thus his inconsistent form in the Thailand Open and All-Comers meet.
Ibar guided me to win the gold in the ATF meet and I hope he will again help me to record a good jump to win the gold medal in Korat, said Hup Wei, who went for a one-month training and competition stint in Bulgaria in July.
Besides Hup Wei, Ahmad Najwan will also compete in Korat.
Ahmad, who bagged the bronze in the 2003 Vietnam Games, said he was disappointed with his performance in the 2005 Manila Games.
This time, I will go all out to win a medal to redeem myself, said Ahmad.