KUCHING: Sarawak will send four of its gold medal prospects in athletics to two exposure meets in the Kedah Open and Vietnam Open as the State eye six gold medals or one or two more at the coming Sukma meet in Perak this September.
New golden hope and javelin thrower Wong Nie Nie will be sent to the Kedah to be held this weekend on July 20-21 while three other athletes in 110m hurdles Mohd Rizzuah, 400m hurdles Quek Lee Yong and Discus thrower Abdul Rahman Lee will compete overseas in the Vietnam Open held at the Tong Nhat stadium in Hanoi on July 26-27. Nie Nie who did not compete in the last Sukma held in Sarawak two years ago due to injury has a personal best of over 45 m and is slated to be among the gold contenders in the Games.
The Miri-born athlete who trains at the Bukit Jalil sports school will be joined by new Miri athlete Ng Jing Chian who was selected at the recent Sarawak Junior meet. Jing Chian posted a 39.08m at the Sarawak Junior meet to beat the Sukma qualifying mark.
Both Mohd Rizzuah and Lee Yong won golds in the two hurdles event in the last Sukma and the trip to Vietnam is to cement their chances in securing gold while Abdul Rahman who won a silver in the last Sukma and a surprise bronze in the last SEA Games held in Kuala Lumpur is favourite to win gold this time. Sarawak is expected to win gold from discus thrower Queenie Ting as she is the defending champion in the coming Sukma. Grace Wong Xiu Mei and Johnny Ling are expected to continue to dominate in the hammer event where the State had a stranglehold in the event for the past four Sukmas.
Queenie, Grace and Johnny are training in Sarikei under specialist throw coach Ling Neng Tung while Nie Nie is training in Bukit Jalil. Abdul Rahman is studying and training in the Johor sports school. Apart from these golden prospects, another young athlete likely to win medals is Norris Fo.
The SEA Games reserve athlete who took part in the 4x100m relay who trained at Bukit Jalil who won a bronze in the heptathlon in the last Sukma 2016 will be taking part in the 100m and 100m hurdles but her chances of gold might not be confirmed as she is still young at 17.
With 100m silver medallist Jonathan Nyepa in the last Sukma not eligible due to age limit this Sukma, Sarawak will not have any entry in the men’s sprints event but Norris and the field athletes are expected to pose the challenge in the track and field events in the coming Sukma in Perak.