PETALING JAYA: It’s a record to be proud of for most people. But not Mohd Yazid Imran. He is not happy that his 73.34m national record in the Javelin throw is still standing after 25 years.
The Johor Baru native is wishing someone will end the wait and surpass his mark.
The 54-year-old, who now works in Maybank as the Facilities Management Head, said the discipline has evolved but no Malaysian athlete has yet been able to beat the mark he set in Singapore in 1995.
“I would have been happy if someone broke the record. That will mean progress. In any sport, progress is important. To see the record being stuck for 25 years is a little sad, to be honest,” said the 1995 Chiang Mai SEA Games gold medallist.
“We have all the best training facilities, opportunities to compete at a high level, but we need coaches with the correct credentials and experience to guide our young athletes.
“Athletes must also have the correct mindset to achieve the right outcome.
Yazid, who has also played cricket for Malaysia, said for him to master the discipline, he needed to learn about strength and speed and needed constant guidance from his coaches.
“Javelin is like all other throwing events, a highly technical event. Strength and speed are just a part of the requirements. They need to have the correct technique, which is the most challenging part.
“I was fortunate to be able to train under Mr Oleg Dimitrosenko, a world-renowned javelin coach from Russia brought in by MSN (National Sports Council) for the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.
“It took me about three years to unlearn my old techniques and re-learn the new and proper techniques from the coach.
“That is how I won the SEA Games gold medal and broke the national record.”
Sadly, there is no grassroots development for some field events like javelin and in the SEA Games in the Philippines, there was no Malaysian representative in javelin.
Mohd Bakri Hamid was the last Malaysian in the event at the SEA Games. He competed in the KL 2017 Games and finished last with a throw of 49.61m.
While the country is now looking for its next Yazid or even Nashatar Singh, the best platform would be the Malaysia Games (Sukma), to be held in Johor next year.
Asked why there was dearth of javelin throwers in the country, Yazid said there were fewer distractions in the past.
“We did not have social media, handphones and others. Athletes then focused only on training and interacted only with their teammates and coaches without any outside distractions.”
“To summarise, we need a good throwing coach and the athletes themselves must be dedicated, hard-working and know what they want to achieve,” said Yazid.