KUALA LUMPUR: Shereen Samson Vallabouy made her family and Malaysia proud by winning the girls’ 400m gold in the 10th South-East Asian (SEA) Youth Athletics Championships at the National Sports Council (NSC) Training Track in Bukit Jalil.
The 17-year-old Perak-born Shereen clocked 55.12, but failed to improve her personal best of 54.90 which she did in the Malaysian Open last month to qualify for the World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia, from July 15-19.
The qualifying mark for the Under-17 World Youth Championships is 57.20.
Malaysia’s Zaimah Atifah Zainuddin clocked 56.32 to win the silver while the bronze went to Vietnam’s Can Thi Thuy, who clocked 57.24.
Shereen, who is the second daughter of former international middle distance runners Samson Vallabouy and Josephine Mary, was delighted to win her first-ever medal in the SEA Youth Championships.
“I failed to improve on my personal best, but my mission is to train harder and better my mother’s personal best of 52.65 (which Josephine clocked at Asian Track and Field Championships in New Delhi in 1989).
“I could have improve on my personal best today, but I ran too fast in the first 200m. I could not maintain a good run in the last 200m,” added Shereen, who will be competing in the 400m and 4x400m in her debut in the Singapore SEA Games in June.
Malaysia only won one gold, five silvers and nine bronzes on the final day of the championships.
Asnawi Hashim, who won the boys’ 100m final on Saturday, clocked a personal best of 22.11 in the 200m final but could only manage fourth place. But he managed to beat the World Youth Championships qualifying mark of 22.25.
Thailand dominated the two-day meet with a haul of 17-2-4 followed by Malaysia with a 6-13-12 total. Vietnam were third on 5-6-7.
by aftar singh