KUALA LUMPUR: Seventeen-year-old Russel Taib has a bright future in athletics.
The Malaysian-born clocked a personal best of 47.57 in the 400m of the boys’ Under-18 event at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships in Sydney last month.
His efforts surpassed the qualifying time of 49.45 for the World Youth Championships (to be held in Cali, Colombia, from July 15-19).
Taib, who is studying at a high school in Tasmania, is delighted to have qualified for the World Youth meet.
“The Australian Junior meet was my last chance to beat the mark and I feel really good to have achieved it,” he said.
Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) president Datuk Karim Ibrahim believes that Russel is heading in the right direction.
“He is only 17 but has clocked a very impressive time for someone his age. We are impressed,” said Karim, who wanted Russel to feature in the Under-17 South-East Asian Youth (SEA) Championships at the National Sports Council (NSC) Training Track in Bukit Jalil this weekend.
But Russel’s parents prefer him to concentrate on his studies.
Malaysia will be represented by 31 men and 27 women athletes in the two-day meet.
Karim said that they are not setting any targets for their athletes but would use it to see where “our athletes stand among other countries in the region”.
“All 10 countries, except for Myanmar and Timor Leste, will be featuring in the meet,” said Karim.