Thursday, December 17, 2009

Athletics unlikely to hit their eight-gold target

ROBANI (kiri) sekadar memenangi pingat perak dalam acara 110m lari berpagar.

THE Malaysian athletics squad are unlikely to meet their eight-gold target following their failure to win the men’s 110m hurdles at the National Sport Complex Main Stadium yesterday.

Mohd Robani Hassan settled for the silver medal despite leading for much of the race. He lost his lead in the final 10m of a race featuring two Malaysians and two Thais.

Robani was pipped to the gold by Jamras Rittidet, who shattered the Games record with a time of 13.89 – 0.02 faster than the record set by Malaysia’s Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian in Korat two years ago.

Robani finished in 14.05 and Suphan Wongsriphu clinched the bronze in 14.16. The other Malaysian in the fray, Muhd Faiz Mohammad, crashed out of the race at the halfway mark.

The two Malaysians were already at a disadvantage even before the start as they were boxed in Lanes 4 (Robani) and 5 (Faiz) by Rittidet (Lane 3) and Wongsriphu (Lane 6).

“I feel frustrated as we had absolutely no luck with the lane placements. Suphan’s race style is to drift to the right edge of his lane and this disrupted my concentration and made me slow down,” said Robani.

“Both Faiz and I did not have much room to manoeuvre as the Thais were knocking into us and this caused Faiz to crash out.

“But this kind of tactic is common in all hurdles races around the world. It cannot be used as an excuse for our failure to deliver the gold.”

It’s the second silver medal for the 2005 Manila Games champion. He was also placed second in Hanoi in 2003 and was unable to defend the title in Korat two years ago because of injury.

The men’s 110m hurdles was one of the eight events projected to deliver gold medals for Malaysia in Vientiane.

Malaysia won an unlikely bronze in the men’s pole vault through Muhd Hafizuddin Sahadan even though he registered a poor 4.50m. He was only one of three in a seven-competitor field to register a successful jump. Hafizuddin failed in all three attempts to clear 4.70m.

Thailand’s Kreeta Sintawacheewa won in a Games record of 5.21m. His compatriot, Sompong Saombankuay, who held the previous record of 5.10m, took silver with a 5.00m effort.

Mohd Noor Imran missed out on a medal in the men’s 200m, finishing fourth in 21.60. Indonesian Suryo Agung Wibowo, who smashed the 100m record with a time of 10.17 on Sunday, completed his defence of the two sprint titles with a 20.85 finish.

Nurul Sarah Kadir and Norjannah Hafiszah also failed to deliver in the women’s 200m, finishing fourth (24.10) and sixth (24.48) respectively in the race won by Vietnam’s Vu Thi Huong in 23.31.

In the women’s long jump, Siti Zubaidah Adabi was fifth with a best effort of 5.83m. Filipina Marestella Torres clinched gold with a 6.68m leap, shattering compatriot’s Elma Muros’ previous record of 6.52m, which had stood for 20 years. STAR

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