MALAYSIA underlined their supremacy in junior athletics in the region after winning a staggering 15 gold medals at the Asean Schools Games in Marikina City, Phillipines to leave their rivals trailing far in their wake.
So dominant were the Malaysians in the athletics competition which ended on Thursday, surpassing their previous best of 14 gold in 2012 in Surabaya, that nearest rivals Thailand and Indonesia only won seven gold medals each of the 39 on offer.
Sprinter Badrul Hisyam Manap was the toast of the national contingent with a four-gold medal haul including both relays while Noor Shahidatun Nadia Zuki won the girls long jump-triple jump double for the fourth year in a row.
Hurdler Quek Lee Yong, Asian junior champion Siti Nur Afiqah Razak and middle-distance runner Faradillah Raznie also won two gold each.
Malaysian Athletics Federation technical director Robert Ballard said the performances, which included nine silver and six bronze medals, augured well for the sport’s future.
“I think the results are very good and it shows that they are well placed to make good progress over the next few years,” said Australian Ballard yesterday. “It was good to see Badrul do well from 100m to 400m and he’s been invited to join the elite level programme.”
Badrul clocked a hand-timed 10.4 seconds to win the 100m in a Malaysian 1-2 with Jonathan Nyepa, ran a personal best 21.61s to win the 200m and then helped the 4x100m and 4x400m teams to gold in 41.11s, the fastest time by any Malaysian quartet in 2014, and 3:15.96s respectively.
Besides Badrul, Azam Masri, Lee Yong and Jonathan also ran in both relays.
Nadia, who won her first gold medal at the meet as a 14-year-old in 2010, cleared 5.67 metres to win the long jump before leaping 12.54m for the triple jump gold, just eight centimetres ahead of teammate R. Kirthana, to take her overall Games tally to nine gold and one silver.
Siti Nur Afiqah, the Asian junior 400m champion, easily won gold in her pet event in 55.66s before combining with Shereen Samson, Saidatul Izatti Suhaimi and Faradillah to win the girls’ 4x400m gold in 3:50.01. Faradillah had earlier won the 800m in 2:15.5s.
The other gold medallists were Lee Yong in the boys’ 400m hurdles (53.23s), high jumper Norshafiee Mohd Shah (2.10m), triple jumper Nik Fariezal Erman Nik Hadi (personal best of 15.12m), discus thrower Faris Hazim Jamaluddin (50.76m) and Queenie Ting in the girls’ discus (38.83m).
Rising 14-year-old thrower Grace Wong won two silver medals in her Games debut in the shot put and discus while the other silver medallists were Azam (400m), Jali Omar (javelin), Devin Roy Vincent (3,000m steeplechase), Jonathan Tinggang (high jump) and the girls’ 4x100m.
The bronze medallists included Ammar Zakuan Zanuar (110m hurdles), Asif Rahman Jiyaudeen (3,000m steeplechase), Ting Aik Hou (shot put), Shahirah Sazali (girls’ high jump) and Saidatul Izatti (400m hurdles). By Devinder Singh