KUALA LUMPUR: Former Asian champion Lee Hup Wei has been a letdown in the first two Asian Grand Prix athletics meet in Thailand.
The 26-year-old high jumper from a Dengkil, who won the Asian Track and Field (ATF) meet gold medal with the height of 2.24m in Jordan in 2007, could only managed a poor jump of 2.05m to finish 11th out of 13 competitors in Bangkok on May 4.
And four days later in Chonburi, he cleared 2.10m to finish 12th. His efforts, however, was way off his national record of 2.27m.
Hup Wei, who was the gold medallist in the last three SEA Games, also failed to surpass the biennial Games qualifying mark of 2.12m.
He will be competing in his third and final leg in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Another high jumper S. Navinraj, who has qualified for the SEA Games and has a personal best of 2.19m, also fared badly in the two legs.
The 20-year-old Johorean finished last in the two legs after clearing the same height of 2.05m.
Hup Wei, who has won the Asian GP gold medal four times, is clearly disappointed with his poor form.
“I used to win medals in the Asian GP but today I am struggling to clear even 2.10m and this is not good by my standards.
“I used to win the gold in the ATF meet but I cannot even clear 2.12m to qualify for the SEA Games,” said Hup Wei, who featured in the 2008 Olympics Games.
Two other Malaysian athletes – hurdles Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian and Raja Norsheena Raja Azhar – also failed to come close to their personal best in the Asian GP.
Sabahan Rayzam, who has a personal best of 13.81 in the men’s 110m hurdles, clocked 14.48 and 14.25 to finish sixth and fifth respectively in the two legs.
Raja Norsheena finished sixth and last in both legs with times of 14.24 and 14.43.
Both the hurdlers also failed to qualify for the Myanmar SEA Games in December.
Meanwhile, three athletes – high jumper A. Kavee Alagan, triple jumper Mohd Hakimi Ismail and long jumper Noor Amira Nafiah – left for Macau yesterday to feature in two-day Open meet starting tomorrow.
The three have yet to qualify for the SEA Games.
Besides Navin, the other athletes who have qualified for the Games are high jumper Nauraj Singh, pole vaulter Iskandar Alwi, walker Loo Chong Sieng and the men’s 4x400m relay team.