KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — Not being included in the Asian games squad has lit a fire in Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian and he will fight till the bitter end to ensure he competes in his maiden Asian games in Indonesia beginning August 18 till September 2.
The national 110m hurdler, along with two other national record holders Iskandar Alwi (Pole Vault) and Jackie Wong Siew Cheer (Hammer Throw), did not meet the Olympic Council of Malaysia’s(OCM) and National Sports Council’s (NSC) criteria of being ranked among the top four in Asia Games to qualify by merit under category A.
“I am not going to sit down and accept my fate because despite me not breaking any records while training in Germany for nearly three months and missing Raya celebrations I am not getting any younger. This is perhaps my last chance to compete at the Asian games,” said the 30-year-old.
“The part I don’t understand is why they didn’t register my name in the first place? I had been sent abroad to race and train and thinking I’d be competing but when I came back to Malaysia realised I’m not on the list. Also, it’s easier to pull out from a race after registering then to try and register your name after the closing dates.
“Now they have to appeal and be at the mercy of the Asian and Indonesian authorities while I had already told them I have the Sabah sports council to help pay for my trip if I don’t make it on merit.”
Rayzam is peaking in the later part of his career, evident when he broke the national record in May last year with a time of 13.67s.
Following that achievement, he obtained a KL Sea games gold medal, shaving his head right after the win.
He then went to Gold Coast in April this year for the Commonwealth Games, in which he finished sixth in his heats with a time of 14.03s.
In 2014, China’s Xie Wenjun won gold in 13.36s, silver went to South Korea’s Kim Byung-jun 13.43s and bronze went to Thailand’s James Rittidet in 13.61s. Though Rayzam’s not hit any of these times before in hurdles anything can happen.
“I want to reiterate that the relay boys are my friends but it’s not fair to me that even though they didn’t hit the required mark they get to go in category A,” said the Sabahan.
“There are a lot of elements in play while hurdling making the race very risky. You could hit the hurdle, clash with the side runners, get distracted, fall down, false start and so on. So despite your time’s not being the best in the region there is the element of surprise and luck. We cannot discount these things which is why I am always confident when I race. It’s not over till you cross that finishing line.
“There’s not much time left till the opening ceremony on the 18th so I am going to put all my energy into ensuring I get to race for my country in Jakarta.”
MAF president Datuk Karim Ibrahim is working on getting Razyam included in the games and will have to use all his connections to ensure it happens.
Meanwhile Jackie Wong and Iskandar are resigned to their fates. They understand the fact they need to work harder and have promised to to make sure they be among Asia’s best.