KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) have allowed reigning SEA Games champion sprinters Mohd Haiqal Hanafi and Khairul Hafiz Jantan to return to Johor to train under former coach Mohd Poad Mohd Kasim.
Haiqal and Khairul were the 100m gold medallists for Malaysia at the 2019 Philippines and 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games respectively.
The duo recently said that they do not want to train under world renowned coach Dwayne Miller for the upcoming SEA Games in Hanoi in November.
The duo have been training under American coach Miller at the National Sports Council (NSC) in Bukit Jalil for the last seven months.
MAF coaching committee chairman Datuk Paduka Mumtaz Jaafar said a meeting was held on April 15 where the duo voiced out their preference to train under coach Mohd Poad, who guided them to win the men’s blue riband event at the last two SEA Games.
Besides the two, the other officials who attended the meeting were national chief coach Mohd Manshahar Abdul Jalil, Miller, Mohd Poad, NSC, MAF and National Sports Institute (NSI) officials. Mohd Poad is also the national sprints and development coach.
“Haiqal and Khairul sent their letters to MAF explaining the reasons why they want to train under coach Mohd Poad.
“We asked them during the meeting whether they wanted to change their minds to train with coach Miller but they stood by their decision.
“Mohd Poad, who is based in Johor, is willing to coach the duo while Miller has no problem releasing these two athletes, ” said Mumtaz, who is also the MAF deputy president.
Mohd Poad will prepare Haiqal and Khairul for the Malaysian Open in Bukit Jalil in June, which is the qualifying meet for the Hanoi SEA Games.
“The duo will return to Johor soon but they will have to go to Bukit Jalil for 4x100m training when necessary. We wish both of them all the best for training and competitions.”
Haiqal, who clocked a personal best of 10.35 to win gold in the Philippines SEA Games, did not feature in the Malaysian GP in Bukit Jalil recently as he is recovering from a sprained ankle.
Khairul, who holds the national 100m record of 10.18, took part in the 400m in Malaysian GP and finished a disappointing eighth with a poor time of 54.71, which was way off his personal best of 47.70.