KUALA LUMPUR: Asian 100m record holder Samuel Adelebari Francis of Qatar is the top drawcard in the Malaysian Open athletics championships at the National Training Track in Bukit Jalil this weekend.
The 23-year-old holds the record of 9.99, which he clocked to win the gold medal in the Asian Track and Field (ATF) championships in Jordan in 2007.
The Malaysian Open is part of Samuel’s preparation for an onslaught to win a first Asian Games gold medal in Guangzhou next month.
Asia’s No. 1 long jumper Hussain Taher Alsaba of Saudi Arabia, who has a personal best of 8.35m, will also feature in the two-day meet.
The 30-year-old Hussein said that he would face strong challenges in his bid to win a hat-trick of Asiad gold medal.
“The pressure will be on me to live up to my No. 1 tag in Guangzhou. However, I hope to become the first athlete to win the long jump gold medal in three consecutive Games,” said Hussain, who is looking forward to recording a good distance in the Malaysian Open.
The meet will also be the last warm-up competition for the Malaysian athletes for the Asian Games. Those who will feature in Guangzhou are Lee Hup Wei (high jump), P. Yuvaraaj (400m), Roslinda Samsu (pole vault) and women’s 4x100m quartet of Norjannah Hafiszah Jamaluddin, Siti Sarah Abdul Kadir, Yee Yi Ling and Siti Zubaidah Adabi.
The Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU) deputy president, Karim Ibrahim, said that Yuvaraaj, who is training in Jamaica since August, would return tomorrow to compete in the meet.
“Yuvaraaj did not qualify on merit for the Asian Games but he will be competing in the Games as one of the the recipients of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) scholarship,” he said.
“I hope Yuvaraaj would be able to dip below 47 seconds in Guangzhou after two months of training in Jamaica.”