SEA Games: Nauraj facing a dificult task to defend gold
Nauraj, who has a personal best of 2.22m, is recovering from a foot injury.
SINGAPORE: Malaysia’s three-decade long supremacy in men’s high jump in the SEA Games is likely to come to an end in Singapore.
Defending champion Nauraj Singh Randhawa is far from his best, having just recovered from a foot injury.
The Johor high jumper enjoyed a memorable Games debut in Myanmar two years ago, winning the gold with a height of 2.17m.
His last competition was more than three months ago, when he finished fourth with a jump of 2.20m in the Sydney Track Classic on March 18.
Nauraj has a personal best of 2.22m, which he did at the Canberra Track Classic in Australia in February.
He is training under coach Alim Ahmejanov and will arrive in Singapore on Sunday. His event is scheduled for June 11.
Nauraj, who is pursuing a degree in sports science at Universiti Malaya, isn’t too confident of retaining the gold medal.
“I just started training a week ago after recovering from the injury. I’m still in Kuala Lumpur trying to regain my form. It’s better for me to train in KL without any distractions,” said Nauraj, who has also sought medical assistance from the National Sports Institute (ISN).
Malaysia’s other bet in the men’s high jump event is Mohd Ashraf Saipu Rahman.
Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) technical director Robert Ballard felt that Nauraj should stay back in KL to get 100% help from ISN officials.
“He needs to get his rhythm back for the SEA Games,” said the Australian coach.
Malaysia are unable to make any changes to the men’s high jump entry list as the deadline has ended.
Malaysia’s Loo Kum Zee holds the SEA Games men’s high jump record of 2.24m, which he set in Chiang Mai in 1995.