National runner K. Prabudass from Negeri Sembilan. Photo: Stadium Astro

KUALA LUMPUR: National long-distance runner, K. Prabudass who is now the all-time second best Malaysian in the 5,000m event considers his father G. Krishnan as his greatest inspiration. Krishnan is a SEA Games bronze medallist who holds the honour as the first Malaysian to run 5,000m in under 15 minutes.

Now, Prabudass, the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games silver medallist, has great potential to surpass his father’s achievement after setting his new personal best of 14 minutes and 33.10 seconds in the second series of the Nippon Sport Science University’s athletics event in Kenshidai, Japan on Sunday.

The Royal Malaysian Navy lance corporal had clocked in with 14:37.52s in the first series of the tournament last month, which he participated in using his own funds.

However, he has a long way to go to beat the record of 14:06.84s set by former long-distance ace M. Ramachandran at the Troisdorf, Germany in August 1994.

Nevertheless, the 29-year-old from Negeri Sembilan has a good chance to bring back a gold medal from the 2019 Philippines SEA Games, as his new time is faster than the 14:55.15s set by the Nguyen Van Lai of Vietnam for the gold in the 2017 edition, where Prabudass settled for second place with 14:57.43s.

However, Prabudass is not
resting on his laurels and looking forward to working harder for the biennial Games scheduled to take place from Nov 30 to Dec 11.

“I am happy with my progress of achieving my personal best twice in three weeks. I need to discuss with my coach (Jean-Pierre Lautredoux) about upcoming competitions and things that I can improve.

“It’s still a long way to go for SEA Games, so I just want to concentrate on my training and keep improving my time. Winning the gold medal will be tough as there are many runners from Vietnam and Indonesia who will put forward a great challenge.

“My father is my idol, and he is the reason for me to become a long distance runner. He is the former national record holder in 5,000m and the first Malaysian to run sub-15 minutes,” he told Bernama when contacted in Japan. – Bernama