Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Extraordinary gentlemen

GOLDEN QUARTET Rookies stun field

4x400m gold medal
(From left) S. Kannathasan, Muhammad Yunus Lasaleh, P. Yuvaraaj and Schzuan Ahmad Rosely celebrate the 4x400m gold.

THEY were dropped by the Malaysian AAU (MAAU) and not meant to run in the Sea Games. But  despite arriving only 48 hours before their event, the  men's 4x400m quartet   shocked everyone by winning gold last night.
S. Kannathasan, P. Yuvaraaj, Schzuan Ahmad Rosely and Muhammad Yunus Lasaleh were the only quartet without a qualifying time listed under their names but they ran the race of their lives to secure gold in 3:10.47s to upstage the Philippines and Thailand.

They led from the start as Philippines secured silver and Thailand, the defending champions, finished third.

None of the four competed in the 400m as   they only arrived on Sunday after the heats were completed   but they were not complaining.

Yuvaaraj, the only runner to have Sea Games experience after competing in Laos, said it was an unbelievable win as they were not even supposed to be competing.

"We arrived less than 48 hours ago but our only aim was to prove everyone wrong  and win the gold. I just can't explain the way we feel. It is an extraordinary achievement," said Yuvaraaj.

"My three teammates had no Sea Games experience but they ran like men possessed and this is by far, our best achievement and something I will remember for a long time.

"I also thank our coach K. Jayabalan who kept fighting for our inclusion even though the athletics team had left last week. If not for him, I think we would not have run here."

However, Jayabalan was unable to accompany  his runners, who came under category B, but his charges   more than compensated his absence.

Yunus, who ran the anchor leg, said they were so fired up that they ran without fear.

"This is the best moment of my life. Even though we came here at the last minute, we had  confidence and we told ourselves that  gold was our only aim," said Yunus, who hails from Tawau.

"We had no Sea Games experience and our rivals didn't know us. We didn't compete in the 400m and most of our rivals had written us off. We really caught everyone by surprise as they didn't know us."

Their gold was the second of the night as Lee Hup Wei continued Malaysia's fine tradition in the high jump by winning gold after clearing 2.15m for the third consecutive time.

Thailand's Pramote Pumurai   won silver while Vietnam's Nguyen Dui Bang secured bronze.

Read more: NST

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