POOR SHOWING: Athletics squad fail to meet official target
THE tears flowed freely for Adi Alifuddin Hussin while Hakimi Ismail erased a 24-year-old national record in a tale of near misses for the country’s Sea Games track and field athletes at the Wunna Theikdi Stadium yesterday.
The final day of competition brought three silver medals with Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian also finishing runner-up and it would have been four had Jironi Riduan not been upgraded to joint-gold medallist in the men’s 1,500m final.
Jironi’s gold helped the athletics contingent avoid setting an unwanted all-time low of three gold medals but they still finished with the worst record in the history of the Sea Games.
Athletics’ final tally of four gold, six silver and three bronze, missing the official target of five-gold by one, was lower than the 4-7-16 registered in 1975 in Bangkok.
The 13 medals in total was just marginally higher than the 10 (5-2-3) gained in Palembang two years ago.
Both Adi and Hakimi had victory snatched at the death when they were leading their respective events with gold in sight.
Hakimi broke Zaki Sadri’s 1989 triple jump national record of 16.29m with a 16.44m effort in his fourth attempt to take the lead.
However, he then failed to take off with his next two attempts and with Nguyen Van Hung going last, the Vietnamese took his opportunity with a massive leap of 16.67m to win gold.
“I did not think 16.44m would be enough and I am disappointed I messed up my last two jumps,” said Hakimi, 22.
“It was a problem with my left leg. It’s the first time this has happened. I’m sad I missed out on gold but at least I got the national record.”
Shot putter Adi was in tears after failing to fulfil the final wish of his late coach Nazar Abdul Rahim, who died last month.
“My late coach had wanted me to win a Sea Games gold medal,” said Adi, 25, who took silver for the third time in a row.
“I failed to realise his wish and I apologise for that. But I want to thank God for all the help he gave me.”
Adi led with his first attempt of 17.10m, a season’s best, but Thailand’s Thawat Khachin matched that in the second round before heaving the put to 17.54m with his penultimate attempt.
Rayzam, 25, was beaten by a distance by Thailand’s Jamras Rittidet, who set a meet record of 13.72 seconds with the Malaysian second in 14.00.
“I had a bad start. I was slow out of the blocks and had too much ground to make up,” said a disappointed Rayzam, Sea Games champion in 2007.
The men’s 4x400m quartet of Schzuan Ahmad Rosely, Arif Zulhilmi Alet, P. Yuvaraaj and S. Kannathasan took bronze in 3:15.06s, failing to redeem themselves after having the 2011 gold taken away due to the positive dope test of Yunus Lasaleh.
Kannathasan also took a nasty tumble near the end after an Indonesian runner cut him off but got up to finish the race.
Another bronze went to Raja Nursheena Raja Azhar, who clocked a personal best of 13.84 seconds in the women’s 100m hurdles.