TARGET: Triple jumper wants to qualify for World Indoor Championships
AFTER breaking Zaki Sadri’s long-standing national triple jump record, Hakimi Ismail hopes to extend his upwardtrajectory by qualifying for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and Incheon Asian Games this year.
But first the Sea Games silver medallist has one eye on claiming a wild card to the World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland on March 7-9.
To do that, Hakimi needs to put in a convincing performance at his maiden appearance at the Asian Indoor Championships in Hangzhou, China this weekend to sway the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) selectors.
Aside from Hakimi, shot putter Adi Alifuddin Hussin, pole vaulter Iskandar Alwi, high jumper Nauraj Singh Randhawa and hurdler Raja Nursheena Raja Azhar will also be competing in Hangzhou on Saturday and Sunday.
The five, along with another high jumper Lee Hup Wei, are all in contention for a wild card to Sopot.
“My main target this year is to qualify for the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games but I am also hoping that I get to compete at the World Indoors” said Hakimi, who opened his 2014 campaign by winning gold at the Malaysian Institutions of Higher Learning Games last week.
“I know I am being considered for Sopot which is why I need to do well this weekend. But this is my first ever indoor competition so I don’t really know what to expect.
“The atmosphere will probably be different to what I am used to but I have to adapt and do my best.”
Hakimi set the national triple jump record of 16.44m in Naypyitaw last December when he was just one jump away from the gold medal only for the eventual winner Nguyen Van Hung of Vietnam to pull off a class act with a last leap of 16.67m to win gold in a Games record.
Though Hakimi only managed a 15.67m effort at the Universiti Malaysia Arena last week, he said he used the meet to test a shortened run-up.
“I took only eight steps at UM when I usually do 16,” said Hakimi, who turns 23 on April 8. “It allowed me to test myself using a short run-up and under the circumstances, I think I did quite well.”
To qualify for Sopot, Hakimi would need to clear 17.00m while the qualifying marks for Glasgow and Incheon are 16.73m and 16.51m respectively.
Any mark Hakimi sets in Hangzhou will automatically be recognised as a national indoor triple jump record given that one does not exist.
Nauraj and Iskandar could also break the national indoor records in the high jump (2.15m) and pole vault (4.77m) respectively given that their personal bests are far better while Raja Nursheena will attempt to erase Moh Siew Wei’s 60m hurdles record of 8.38 seconds set in 2005.
Adi, who has been suffering from a lingering shoulder problem, will attempt to improve his indoor record of 16.67m closer to his outdoor record of 17.54m.
So far, only Nauraj, Iskandar, long jumper Luqman Hakim Ramlan and the women’s 4x400m have qualified for the Asian Games while the women’s 4x100m quartet have met the 2010 Commonwealth Games sixth-place mark.