By Aftar Singh
KUALA LUMPUR: Veteran walker Yuan Yufang is set to make a surprise comeback at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in August.
The five-time gold medallist last featured in the SEA Games a decade ago – in Korat 2007.
The China-born athlete won gold medals in the 10,000m walk in Brunei (1999) and 20km walk in KL (2001), Hanoi (2003), Manila (2005) and Korat (2007).
She switched to running marathons in 2008 and won the Malaysian category of the Standard Chartered KL Marathon last Sunday.
The KL Games women’s walk is over 10,000m.
“Although I am 40, I still have the stamina and endurance to contribute a medal in the SEA Games. I’m also the last Malaysian woman walker to win a medal and that was in 2007.
“I want to prove that I’m still the best woman walker in Malaysia,” said Yufang, who holds the national 10,000m walk record of 45:22.05 set in the 1999 Brunei SEA Games.
Another reason which prompted Yufang to consider a comeback is because Malaysia only have one woman walker – Elena Goh – in the training squad.
Elena finished fourth in the 20km walk in Singapore 2015.
“Each country is allowed to name two athletes for an event and I should be selected for the Games after finishing second to Elena in the 10,000m walk at the Malaysian Closed in Lumut last month,” said Yufang.
“I only trained a few days for the Malaysian Closed and still won silver.
“If I had trained for a few months, I would have won the gold.
“I now have three months to train for the SEA Games and I will compete in the Malaysian Open (from July 17-19) to prove that I’m still the No. 1 woman walker in the country.”
Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/sport/athletics/2017/05/26/yufang-set-to-return-for-womens-walk/#MPsggxefB15A4fQz.99