SOUTHEAST ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: Kirthana shines in Naypyidaw
THE national youth athletes returned home yesterday with four gold medals from the Southeast Asian Youth Championships in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, despite sending one of the smallest squads in recent years.
Only one athlete did not win a medal as the nine-strong contingent matched last year’s haul of four gold at the two-day competition which ended on Monday.
R. Kirthana was the most decorated athlete after winning gold in the girls’ triple jump with a 12.45m effort in addition to a bronze in long jump (5.51m).
The other gold medallists were all boys — shot putter R. Meveeqhen (16.17m), Badrul Hisyam Manap in the 200m (21.67s) and high jumper Syazwan Ahmad (2.03m).
Meveeqhen was a bronze medallist in the Under-18 shot put last year while Kirthana also improved from bronze to gold.
“It was not my personal best,” said Meveeqhen, whose best is 17.82m, in a text message yesterday. “But it’s my first experience winning gold in an international competition.”
Malaysia also won two silver and three bronze medals to finish third in the medal tally behind Thailand (15-10-6) and Vietnam (9-10-4).
Norshafiee Mohd Shah made it a 1-2 finish for Malaysia in the high jump after clearing 2.01m for silver while Rizzua Haizad Muhammad clocked 13.99 to finish second in the boys’ 110m hurdles final.
There were two other bronze medallists besides Kirthana with girls’ high jumper Shahirah Sazali (1.60m) and Hashim Asnawi (11.01s) in the boys’ 100m final finishing third.
Sprinter Syazwan Syafiq Mat Rizan was the only Malaysian athlete to return empty-handed from the seven-nation competition.