National track and field athlete Noor Amira Mohd Nafiah in action during the triple jump event at the Malaysian Open in March. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: Could it be third time’s a charm for national athlete Noor Amira Mohd Nafiah?
The 26-year-old Perak-born long jump and triple jump specialist finished empty-handed in her last two SEA Games campaigns.
Her debut at the 2009 Laos Games saw her finish fifth in triple jump. Two years later, she failed to qualify for the Games in Palembang.
In 2013, she went to Myanmar but did not compete after injuring her ankle a day before the triple jump event started.
Amira, who broke the national long jump record with a leap of 6.29m to win bronze in the Asean University Games in Palembang last December, hopes to be third time lucky in Singapore.
“I want to end my SEA Games jinx in Singapore. It’s really frustrating that I’ve been representing the country for the last eight years and not win a single medal at the Games.
“I’ll compete in just one individual event – long jump – in Singapore. It will be a big blow to me if I don’t finish on the podium as I’m the national champion and record holder,” said Amira, who has a personal best of 13.90m in triple jump.
Amira, who will also compete in the 4x100m in Singapore, expects a stiff challenge in the long jump event from Indonesia’s Maria Natalia Londa and Thailand’s Thitima Maungjan, who did 6.39m and 6.24m to win gold and silver in Myanmar two years ago.
Amira and nine other national athletes left for Wuhan, China, on Tuesday to compete in the Asian Track and Field (ATF) championships, which begin on Wednesday. The athletes will be in Singapore by Saturday – the day the athletics events begin in the SEA Games – or Sunday.
Amira will only be competing in the long jump event at the ATF.
“I’ll be up against top Asian athletes ... I’ll be more than happy if I can achieve a decent jump. My focus is on the SEA Games. I have a week’s rest before I compete in the SEA Games long jump event on June 10,” said Amira.
The other national athletes competing in the ATF meet are Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian (110m hurdles), Mohd Irfan Shamsuddin (discus), Jackie Wong Siew Cheer (hammer) and Lee Hup Wei (high jump) in the men’s category and Casier Renee Kelly Lee, Grace Wong Xiu Mei (hammer), Yap Sean Yee (high jump) and Noor Shahidatun Nadia Mohd Zuki (triple jump) in the women’s section.
All the athletes, except for Hup Wei and Noor Shahidatun, will also feature in the SEA Games.
By Aftar Singh