NAYPYITAW: Teenager Harith Ammar Mohd Sobri is tipped to be one of the top sprinters at the next SEA Games in Singapore in two years’ time.
The 19-year-old from Setiu, Terengganu, made a surprise debut in the Games, clocking a personal best time of 21.46 to win the silver medal in the men’s 200m.
Last year’s Malaysian Games (Sukma) champion in Kuantan had earlier bettered his time during the heats, clocking 21.75 to finish third.
His previous best was 22.00, which he achieved in the Universiti Malaysia Perlis (Unimap) Games in August.
The silver medal was not the only surprise for Harith.
Immediately after the race on Wednesday, the results on the electronic board showed that both Harith and Vietnam’s Trong Hinh Le clocked the same time of 21.47. But the Malaysian was place third.
But hardly a minute later, the board showed a different time and position with Harith placed second on 21.46 and the Vietnamese third on 21.47.
The race was won by Thailand’s Jirapong Meenapra, who clocked 21.29.
Harith was delighted with his success and for twice improving on his personal best time.
“I never ever thought of winning a medal as I was competing in the Games to gain exposure.
“Furthermore, I don’t have much exposure as I only competed in two local meets this year (the Unimap meet and the Perlis Open). But I surprised everyone including myself to win the silver,” said Harith.
“I was surprised with the time posted on the electronic board as the Vietnamese and I both clocked the same time (21.47).
“But surprisingly they changed the time and I was awarded the silver with a time of 21.46,” said Harith, who thanked former double gold medallist Nazmizan Mohamed for motivating him to give his best in the Games.
“Without his motivation, I don’t think I would have been able to win the silver and improve my personal best,” said Harith.
Nazmizan from Kuala Terengganu won the men’s 100m and 200m gold medals in Hanoi SEA Games in 2003.
“I will continue to train much harder as my ambition is to be a top sprinter in South-East Asia,” said Harith.