Courageous Khairul sprints to historic Asian junior gold – Athletics | The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: Khairul Hafiz Jantan created history by winning the gold medal in the boys’ 100m at the 17th Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Vietnam.

Source: Courageous Khairul sprints to historic Asian junior gold – Athletics | The Star Online

By Aftar Singh

Big day for Malaysian athletics as Khairul (right) nicks historic 100m gold at the Asian Junior meet. On the left is Badrul.

PETALING JAYA: Khairul Hafiz Jantan created history by winning the gold medal in the boys’ 100m at the 17th Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Vietnam.

The 19-year-old clocked a personal best of 10.36 in the final to be the first Malaysian to win the blue riband event in the biennial championships at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday.

Badrul Hisyam Abdul Manap, who clocked 10.29 to win the gold in the Asean Schools Games in Brunei last December, could only finish fifth in 10.54.

Despite the final being delayed by one hour due to a heavy downpour, Khairul was not flustered. He ran the race of his life to come within 0.06 seconds of the 10.30 national record set by Watson Nyambek in 1998.

Japan’s Ippei Takeda won the silver in 10.41 while Abdullah Abkar Mohammed of Saudi Arabia clocked 10.45 to bag the bronze.

Khairul is the second Malaysian to win gold in the biennial meet since its inception in 1986. Two years ago, Siti Nor Atiqah Abdul Razak won the girls’ 400m gold in Taipei.

National coach Zainal Abas was overjoyed with Khairul’s achievement.

“He could have broken the national record if not for the slippery track. It’s a great achievement for Malaysian athletics.

“Our juniors have made tremendous progress and it’s good to see we are able to compete against the best Asian sprinters at junior level.

“Although Badrul did not win a medal, he did well to finish fifth,” said Zainal.

Khairul, who won the  100m silver at the Asean Schools Games, said he never expected to win the gold.

“I was not even the favourite. But I ran as fast as I could in the final and was surprised to finish ahead of the other runners. This is the best moment of my career,” said Khairul.

There was more good news for Malaysia as the boys’ 4x100m quartet of Khairul, Badrul, Muhd Haiqal Hanafi and Asnawi Hisham clocked the fastest time of 39.94 to qualify for Sunday’s final.

Mohd Rizzua Haizad also reached the boys’ 110m hurdles final by clocking the second fastest time of 13.87 in the semi-finals.

In the girls’ 400m final, Shereen Samson Vallabouy could only clock 59.31 to finish eight. The time was way off Shereen’s personal best of 54.26, which she clocked to win the bronze at last year’s Singapore SEA Games.