KUALA LUMPUR: High jumper S. Navinraj is the only Malaysian to have qualified thus far for the inaugural Youth Olympics track and field competitions in Singapore in August.
The Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) student cleared 2.11m in the Perak Open last October to equal the qualifying mark.
The 17-year-old from Segamat in Johor, who competed in the Laos SEA Games last December, said that he was delighted to have made the grade on merit for the Youth Olympics.
“I made my debut in the Laos SEA Games but failed to do well. I only managed 2.05m for fifth place in a field of six competitors,” said Navinraj. “I am training under Russian coach Alim (Ahmejanow) and with five months to go for the Games, I hope to improve on my personal best of 2.11m.”
Navinraj, who will be sitting for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations in November, added that he would skip the national schools (MSSM) championships in May in Johor.
“My coach feels that I will not benefit from taking part in the MSSM meet and he wants me to continue training and compete in the South-East Asia (SEASA) junior championships at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil (from June 26-27).”
Last August, Navinraj was the bronze medallist in the Mini Olympic Games at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil with a height of 2.00m. The following month, he cleared 2.10m to take the gold medal in the Sipma (Malaysian Education Institute of Sports) meet in Kuala Lumpur.
The Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU) deputy president, Karim Ibrahim, said that they hoped to see two or three athletes more joining Navinraj to meet the qualifying mark for the Youth Olympics.
“The final meet for national juniors to qualify on merit for the Games is a meet in Singapore from May 22-23,” he said.