KUALA LUMPUR: Khairul Hafiz Jantan blazed his way to a historic boys’ 100m gold medal at the Asian Junior Championships in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday.
By Devinder Singh
KUALA LUMPUR: Khairul Hafiz Jantan blazed his way to a historic boys’ 100m gold medal at the Asian Junior Championships in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday. No Malaysian had ever won a medal, let alone gold, in a sprint event at the championships and Khairul’s success is only the third gold medal for the country at the meet in all events since 1986. Khairul’s historic feat sees him join Fauziah Abdul Razak (2004) and Siti Nur Afiqah Abdul Razak (2014) on the list of Asian junior gold medallists. In race delayed by an hour due to heavy rain, Khairul made light of the wet conditions at the Thong Nhat Stadium to post a personal best of 10.36 seconds. Khairul, who only turns 18 next month, was running neck-and-neck with Ippei Takeda until he nudged ahead 20 metres from the line to win ahead of the Japanese runner, who finished in 10.41s. Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Abkar Mohammed, holder of the Asian junior 100m record of 10.04, came in third in 10.45s while Badrul was fifth in 10.54s. This is Khairul’s second win in an international race this year after he beat Badrul to the 200m gold at the Phillipines Open in April after finishing second to his teammate in the 100m final while running 10.41s, which was his best time until Saturday. Khairul and Badrul later teamed up with Asnawi Hashim and Haiqal Hanafi to power Malaysia to top spot in their 4x100m heat in 39.94 seconds.