KUALA LUMPUR: Sarawak trio Jonathan Nyepa, Jackie Wong Siew Cheer and Grace Wong Xiu Mei did the state proud when they made the cut for the forthcoming SEA Games end of the year. They are among the 20 national athletes in 13 athletics events who have surpassed the qualifications to the 2019 Philippines’ SEA Games from Nov 30 to Dec 11.
Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) president Datuk Karim Ibrahim said that, in the effort to defend the eight gold medals won by Malaysia when hosting the 2017 edition, MAF would draw up suitable training programmes.
“To defend the gold, we must start by gathering the athletes, conducting selection, placing them according to the disciplines and scheduling them for training and competitions. We will only be sending their names to the Selection Committee at the end of June.
‘’After merely winning three gold medals at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore, our athletes rose to win eight gold medals at the 2017 edition. Now, we have to work hard to at least retain the number of gold medals,’’ he told Bernama.
According to MAF, among the athletes who had qualified to Manila were 2017 SEA Games sprint king Khairul Hafiz Jantan, Jonathan Muhammad Aqil Yasmin and Muhammad Zulfiqar Ismail who had surpassed the time of 10.43 seconds in the men’s 100m event.
For the men’s 200m event, the new national record holder, Russel Alexander Nasir Taib, Jonathan and the world’s fastest youth, Muhammad Azeem Mohd Fahmi had exceeded the time of 21.26s. National sprint queen, Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli (women’s 100m) and triple jump athlete, R. Kirthana also made it.
2017 SEA Games gold medallists, Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian (110m hurdles), Nauraj Singh Randhawa (high jump), Muhammad Hakimi Ismail (triple jump), Muhammad Irfan Shamshuddin (throwing
the discus), Jackie Wong and Grace Wong (hammer throw) also qualified.
Also qualified were K. Prabudass (5,000m), Lee Hup Wei (high
jump), Tan Huong Leong, Muhaizar Mohamad (marathon), Iskandar Alwi (pole vault) and Muhammad Khairil Harith Harun (20 km
Elena Goh, who won the gold medal in the 10 km walk event was the only gold medal winner in the previous edition who had not passed the qualification condition. – Bernama