NAYPYITAW, Dec 17 (Bernama) -- Perseverance and determination paid off for middle distance ace Mohd Jironi Riduan who managed to capture a SEA Games gold on his fourth attempt.
The teacher from Sekolah Sukan Tunku Mahkota Ismail, Kota Tinggi in Johor won the men's 800m gold with a time of 1 minute 50.98 seconds at the Wunna Theikdi Athletics Stadium, here today.
Mervin Guarte from the Philippines took the silver with a time of 1:51.51s while Vai Thai Duong from Vietnam finished third with a time of 1:51.62s and another Malaysian runner M. Kesavan finished in fifth place.
Jironi has won two silver medals from the 800m and 1,500m at the 2009 Laos SEA Games but disqualified in the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia after finishing third in the 800m, allegedly for shoving another runner.
At the 2007 Korat SEA Games in Thailand, Jironi did not win any medals.
"From the start I was only following the lead runner but started sprinting towards the finish line to win the gold. The time I clocked did not matter as winning the gold was my top most priority," said Jironi.
Jironi who will be back on track to compete in the 1,500m race on Thursday said he had not set any specific target for the event but would try his best to put up a good performance.
The gold was Malaysia's second in athletics after Irfan Shamsuddin had won the men's discus gold on Sunday.
Meanwhile, a number of Malaysian athletes who competed in track and field events today, failed to take off or finish on the podium.
Malaysia's hopes in the men's and women's 100m, men's 400m hurdles and women's triple jump evaporated without any success.
From Mazani Chan Yat Sin -- BERNAMA