By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: Hurdler Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian has not recovered fully from a hamstring injury and he is out of the Laos SEA Games.
Team manager A. Subramaniam said that it was unfortunate that the 22-year-old Rayzam would not get to defend the 110m hurdles title, which he won in a Games record time of 13.91 in Korat two years ago.
“Rayzam is still nursing the injury he suffered in the Malaysian Open in Bukit Jalil in October. But we will still have two contenders for medals in the event in Laos — Mohd Robani (Hassan) and Mohd Faiz (Mohamed),” he said.
Subramaniam said that Robani and Faiz would compete as Category B athletes of the contingent after failing to beat the qualifying mark of 13.95.
Robani, who skipped the Korat Games because of injury, clocked a season best of 14.01 in the Asian Track and Field (ATF) championships in Guangzhou last month. Faiz, the bronze medallist in Korat, has a season best of 14.24.
The MAAU will bear the expenses for Category B athletes and they will get a reimbursement from the Olympic Council of Malaysia if the athletes bag a silver medal.
Subramaniam added that they were banking on Robani, who was the winner in the 2005 Manila Games, to deliver the gold this time.
“Robani is an experienced hurdler and we believe he will clock a good time to win the event,” he said.
Meanwhile, Subramaniam said that pole vaulter Kathleen Ong had failed to make good a chance to get into the team for the Laos Games.
“We gave her the chance to prove herself in the Singapore Open on Sunday by clearing 3.90m but she only managed 3.60m. Therefore, we will only have Roslinda (Samsu) competing in the event,” he said.
The MAAU have set an eight-gold medal target for the Laos Games. In the 2007 Korat Games, Malaysia bagged seven gold medals.