KUALA LUMPUR: No joy for athletes despite plenty of medals.
SEA Games gold medallist Mohd Irfan Shamsuddin was not wearing a smile despite winning the gold medal in the discus at the Australian Capital Territory in Canberra on Sunday.
The 19-year-old burly athlete from Seremban, hurled 51.79m, which is way off his national record of 54.66m, set at the Sukma (Malaysia Games) in Kangar last June.
His efforts also fell short of his SEA Games gold-medal winning effort of 53.16m which he did in Myanmar in 2013.
SEA Games silver medallist Mohd Hakimi Ismail won the triple jump event with a leap of 15.84m in Canberra.
Hakimi also did not better his own qualifying mark of 16.44m, which he achieved in Myanmar.
Sprinter Harith Ammar Sobri, who bagged a silver in the 200m in Myanmar, won the 100m event with a time of 10.73, which also failed to surpass the SEA Games qualifying mark of 10.51.
Noor Amira Nafiah bagged the bronze medal in the women’s long jump with 6.00m, which is 0.29cm short of the national record (6.29m) she set at the Asean University Games in Palembang last December.
Asian junior gold medallist Siti Nur Afiqah Abdul Razak also finished third in the women’s 400m with a time of 55.15, which is way off the SEA Games qualifying mark of 53.38.
Sprinter Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli finished fourth in the women’s 100m with a time of 11.94. Husniah also finished fourth in the 200m in 24.75.
Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) technical director of coaching John Ballard said the national athletes are gearing up well.
“Although none of them have beaten the qualifying mark in Canberra, I believe they will be able to do much better at the Victoria State Championships in Melbourne this weekend,” said Ballard on Monday.
To date, only five athletes have qualified on merit and they are Irfan, Husniah, Arif Zulhilmi Alet (men’s 400m), Nauraj Singh (men’s high jump) and Yap Jeng Tzan (women’s discus).
The athletes will return from Australia next month to feature in the Malaysian Open in Bukit Jalil from March 27-29.