Poor turnout for first GP athletics meet

PETALING JAYA: The inaugural Malaysian Grand Prix athletics meet at the National Sports Council (NSC) training track in Bukit Jalil on Sunday proved to be a mundane affair.

Only 14 events, eight for men and six for women, were contested in the one-day meet tailored for top-ranked national athletes. But some events had only two competitors.

None of the athletes broke national records or met qualifying marks for the Guangzhou Asian Games in November but Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU) deputy president Karim Ibrahim said that the meet was a success of sorts for them.

“The main objective of this meet was to give more exposure to our athletes ahead of the next SEA Games (in Indonesia next year). I believe after the completion of another two legs by the end of this year, we will achieve our objective,” he said.

Many athletes were already in a non-competing phase as it is near the fasting month. And it was apparent in the case of shot putter Adi Alifuddin Hussin and sprinter Mohd Nor Imran Hadi, who were far from their personal best on Sunday.

Adi managed a 16.07m, far from his national record of 17.38m while Imran posted 10.87 just three weeks after setting a personal best of 10.46 in Singapore.

On the poor turnout in some of the events, Karim said that it was due to the clash of dates with the Sabah Open and several other states having had their championships the previous week.

“This was the only time suitable for us to organise the meet. I know that some athletes could not commit to take part because of prior commitments. But we hope that the numbers will increase for the next GP,” he said.

“We also hope to increase the number of events so that more athletes will have a chance to participate in them.”

The second leg of the GP will be held on Sept 18 while the final leg is scheduled for November.

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