KUALA LUMPUR: Eighteen-year-old Jackie Wong has made tremendous progress since taking up the hammer discipline three-and-half-years-ago.
The Form Five student of Sarikei Secondary School in Miri broke the Sukma (Malaysia Games) record in Malacca last month with a distance of 55.14m (hammer weight is 7.26kg for senior category), erasing the 10-year-old mark of 46.54m set by fellow Sarawakian Chong Chen Tat in Penang in 2000.
Early this month in the Asian junior championships in Hanoi, he chalked up a personal best of 61.08m (hammer weight is 6kg for junior category) for sixth place.
And now Jackie, who turned 18 in April, hopes to further improve on his personal best in the Asean Schools Games athletics competition, which begins tomorrow at the National Sports Council (NSC) training track in Bukit Jalil.
Jackie, who is also three-time national schools (MSSM) champion since 2008, said that he thanked coach Ling Neng Chung for advising him to take up hammer throwing in 2007.
“At first, I was reluctant to do it because it would take a long time to master the discipline. But coach Ling persuaded me to do so. He had the belief that I will master it and become a good hammer thrower,” said the 1.86m tall athlete, who weighs 92kg.
“I not only managed to master the event quite well but also made steady progressing each year.”
Jackie added that he was delighted with his efforts in the Asian junior meet and would aim for a better result in the Asean schools meet.
“I have set a target to hurl the hammer over 65m. And with the home ground advantage, I am confident of not only chalking a personal best but also winning the gold medal,” he said.
Jackie added that under continued guidance from Neng Chung, he hoped to break the national record by next year. The record of 58.52m was set by Wong Tee Kui in 1993 Singapore SEA Games.
Another Sarawakian, Yek Chu Hao, will also compete in the hammer event in the Asean schools meet.