Khairul Hafiz shifts focus to Commonwealth Games, 18th Asiad

Khairul Hafiz is setting his sights on higher achievements. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 — The 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games (KL2017) sprint champion, Khairul Hafiz is now focusing on the Commonwealth and Asian Games after clinching the SEA Games gold.

The 19-year-old sprinter from Melaka has dreams of bringing the country honours at a higher level to prove that the runner from Malaysia could be a top contender in such international meets.

The last time Malaysia won the Asian Games men’s 100m gold was 35 years ago through Datuk Rabuan Pit in the 1982 edition in New Delhi, India.

“The Commonwealth and Asian Games are important to me to show the world an athlete from Malaysia could be their top competitor,” he told reporters after an appreciation ceremony by Universal Fitness & Leisure (UFL)-Suunto here today.

Earlier Khairul Hafiz who is a brand ambassador of UFL-Suunto Spartan received an incentive of RM2,000 from UFL managing director Datuk  Radha Krishnan on his success in winning KL2017 men’s 100m gold with a time of 10.38s, two weeks ago.

Asked if there were plans to engage a new coach as preparations for Asian Games, Khairul Hafiz said he did not want to part ways with his current coach Mohd Poad Md Kassim who had patiently groomed him into a Southeast Asian champion.

“I do not want to be separated as he had taken me from a nobody to my present status. If there was cooperation between cikgu Poad and the coach, maybe ok as he knows everything about me, my training and so on,” he said.

Meanwhile Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) president, Datuk Karim Ibrahim said MAF had planned a special programme for Khairul Hafiz but it did not involve changing the coach.

“According to MAF plan, we want to send Khairul Hafiz to the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Birmingham, England in March…He has to meet the qualifying time of 6.63s for the 60m sprint. Preparations for Commonwealth and Asian Games will commence after that,” he said.

Khairul who is undergoing treatment at the National Sports Institute (ISN) after sustaining a thigh muscle injury in KL2017,  is expected to return to training in two weeks as preparations for the World Indoor Championships. — Bernama

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