LUQMAN Hakim Ramlan had to rely on watching YouTube clips in the absence of a coach to improve his technique and amazingly qualified for the Incheon Asian Games on Friday.
The 19-year-old long jumper from Putrajaya achieved the feat when he cleared 7.53 metres, just one centimetre above the Asian Games qualifying mark, to win gold at the Malaysian Institution of Higher Learning Games in Kuala Lumpur.
Hitherto little-known, Luqman could hardly believe he has qualified for Incheon, especially since he has had very limited formal training.
“Because I have no coach to guide me, I have to work extra hard to improve my performances,” said Universiti Teknologi Mara’s Luqman when met at the Universiti Malaya Arena yesterday.
“Whatever I think is not right I have to figure it out by myself. Sometimes, I watch YouTube to learning about long jump techniques. In fact, that was what I relied on for these past two weeks in preparing for this competition.
“I am surprised to have qualified for the Asian Games. I did not know that 7.52m was the qualifying mark. I was actually trying to beat the qualifying mark for the World Junior Championships (7.55m).”
Luqman, who obliterated his previous best of 7.27m, has a few more months to make the two centimetre improvement to qualify for the world junior meet in Eugene, Oregon on July 22-227.
Majoring in pure mathematics, Luqman has mostly flown below the radar but now joins the growing ranks of young athletes emerging on the Malaysian athletics scene.
The likes of triple jump national record holder Hakimi Ismail, pole vault record holder Iskandar Alwi, Sea Games discus champion Irfan Shamshuddin, 200m runner Harith Ammar Sobri and Sea Games high jump champion Nauraj Singh Randhawa are just a few of young athletes to have impressed lately.
Luqman credited Hakimi, 23, for providing him with encouragement as he moved up to joint-ninth in the all-time list of Malaysian high jumpers.
“Some of the more senior athletes like Hakimi also give me advise. Hakimi told me I should set my targets higher which was why I was aiming for the world junior qualifying mark,” said Luqman, a silver medalist at the 2012 Malaysia Games in Kuantan and Asean Schools Games in Surabaya.
Now he is hoping this display will convince the Malaysian Athletics Federation to include him in the National Sports Council’s back-up programme.