Tuesday, October 22, 2013

25 non-qualifier athletes make it to SEA Games squad

Elena Goh (right) has been included in the Myanmar SEA Games squad. She is entered in the women’s 20km walk.
Elena Goh (right) has been included in the Myanmar SEA Games squad. She is entered in the women’s 20km walk.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) have included 25 non-qualifiers for the Myanmar SEA Games in December.

The MAF held their council meeting here on Monday and decided to include the 25, thus increasing the squad to 39 athletes. Earlier, 14 athletes – 12 men and two women – qualified for the Games on merit after beating the qualifying marks in their respective events.

“The 25 are selected based on three categories – being ranked in the top three in the region, back-up athletes and national interest,” said MAF president Datuk Zainal Abidin.

“Seven athletes were selected because they are ranked top three in South-East Asia based on their season-best this year.

“I had said earlier that only the best in the region would be sent. Sadly, none of them are the best in the region.
“So, in the meeting, the council decided to include the seven as they have a chance to win medals,” added Zainal.

The seven athletes are Mohd Jironi Ridzuan (men’s 800m and 1,500m), Adi Alifuddin Husin (men’s shot putt), Mohd Hakimi Ismail (men’s triple jump), Jackie Wong (men’s hammer), Komalam Shally (women’s 100m), Noor Amira Nafiah (women’s triple jump) and Elena Goh (women’s 20km walk).
Zainal added that they would also send nine back-up athletes to Myanmar in preparation for the 2015 Singapore SEA Games.

“These are young and upcoming athletes who need exposure for the next SEA Games,” said Zainal.
The back-up athletes are M. Kesavan (men’s 800m and 1,500m), Mohd Irfan Shamsuddin (men’s discus), Michael Sia (men’s hammer), Mohd Baiqahi Razlan (men’s 400m hurdles), Mohd Firdaus Musa (men’s 400m hurdles), Mohd Rohaizat Jamil (men’s 110m hurdles), Yap Sean Yee (women’s high jump), Nor Shahidatun Nadiah Zuki (women’s long jump) and Mohd Firdaus Kimleh (men’s 4x400m).

Zainal said the third criteria based on national interest are in events such as the men’s 4x100m and 4x400m and women’s 4x400m.

Those going under this category are Harith Ammar, Sebastian Lee Aconza, Eddie Edwards, Mohd Azhar Ismail (men’s 4x100m), Siti Nur Afika, Fatin Faqiha, Nurul Faezah, Nurul Lassikin and Layale Rameli (women’s 4x400m).

Zainal, however, conceded that the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) selection committee will decide on the number of athletes to compete in Myanmar.

At the 2011 Games in Indonesia, Malaysia won five gold medals. This time, the MAF are targeting seven golds.

“We are relying on our men to win the 110m hurdles, 20km walk, pole vault, high jump, 400m and 4x400m. In the women’s category, we hope to win the hammer event,” said Zainal.

The 12 men who qualified on merit are high jumpers Nauraj Singh Randhawa and S. Navinraj, Iskandar Alwi (pole vault), Lo Choon Sieng and Mohd Khairil Harith Harun (20km walk), Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian (110m hurdles), S. Kanathasan (400m), Mohd Arif Zulhilmi Alet (400m) and the four 4x400m relay runners Schzuan Ahmad Rosley, Kwong Kar Jun, P. Yuvaraj and Anchois Aron.
The two women are hammer throwers Casier Renee Kelly Lee and Nur Fazira Jalaludin.

THE STAR by aftar singh

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