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Coach optimistic national athletes will do better
Published on: Thursday, May 17, 2018

Kuala Lumpur: National athletics chief coach, Zainal Abas is optimistic that the lacklustre performance by national athletes at the 2018 Malaysian Open Athletics Championship which ended last Sunday can be overcome before the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta/Palembang, in August.

Zainal said several series of international championships which would be participated by national athletes would be the main platforms for the coaches and the athletes to evaluate and review elements that needed to be improved to bring back their best performance.

He said the decision of the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) to ensure that training sessions were intensified and continued as usual during Ramadan this year would also enable MAF to monitor the current developments of athletes who did not have the opportunity to participate in overseas championships.

"Throughout the three-day championship (Malaysia Open) we could summarise that the athletes' performance was at the moderate level, but from a positive point we can see they were able to give a challenge despite competing with overseas athletes and we also witnessed a national record being renewed by Jackie Wong who recorded 66.01 metres (m) in the hammer throw.

"With some of the programmes that have been arranged including sending them to undergo training and gaining experience competing abroad, the moderate performance may be improved. For athletes who are not going overseas, they will follow the training programme as previously described.

"During the fasting month, training will be continued at night and we will turn on the track lights at the National Sports Council (MSN) to enable athletes to practice after breaking the fast. We hope better performances will be displayed than what they had demonstrated at the Malaysian Open, "he told reporters recently.

The 2018 Malaysia Open Athletics Championship which ended last Sunday saw South East Asia sprint king Khairul Hafiz Jantan exhibiting a miserable performance after recording his worst time this year to simultaneously miss the 100m and 200m gold medals.

Khairul Hafiz, the 100m gold medal winner at the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games (KL2017) only finished the 100m in fifth place with a time of 10.64 seconds and recorded 21.27s for the 200m event to win a bronze medal.

The times recorded for the Melaka-born athlete in both events were far from his 100m national record of 10.18s at the 2016 Sarawak Malaysia Games (Sukma) as well as the 200m national record of 20.90s at the 2017 Malaysia Open Athletics Championship.

However, Zainal believed Khairul Hafiz, who posted 10.34s at the 2018 All Comers FTKLAA/MILO All Comers Athletics Championship, last March, to be his best personal record of the season, would be able to improve his shaky performance ahead of the 2018 Asian Games.

Meanwhile, Zainal confirmed the initial list of athletes to the 2018 Asian Games was sent to the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM), but the final decision would only be made after discussions with OCM.

"We have sent a list of 20 to 23 names to OCM but it is the initial list.

A discussion will be held to pick athletes who are really eligible to be sent to Jakarta, "he said.– Bernama

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