KUALA LUMPUR – The less-than-inspiring performance of national athletes, especially the sprinters, at the Malaysia Athletics Grand Prix does not in any way reflect the efforts put in by the Malaysia Athletics Federation (MAF) ahead of the 2021 SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam at the end of this year.
National athletics head coach Mohd Mansahar Abdul Jalil said what was important was that the two-day GP, which ended at the National Sports Council (NSC) Mini Stadium today, gave the coaches a chance to assess the athletes’ performances and draw up strategic plans for the future.
He described the GP, which was participated by 121 athletes from the Podium and back-up programmes as well as the states, as being the best platform for them to return to competition after being out of action for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There were some very good achievements and I am not worried about the performance of some athletes because we now know what needs to be done,” he told reporters at the stadium today.
The field events stole the show at the GP, with two new national records set by hammer thrower Grace Wong Xiu Mei (62.48 metres) and discus thrower Queenie Ting Kung Ni (48.56m).
Meanwhile, in the blue riband event, men’s 100m, Jonathan Nyepa of Sarawak could only end up with a silver despite the absence of South-East Asia sprint king Muhammad Haiqal Hanafi and national record holder Khairul Hafiz Jantan.
However, Mohd Mansahar expects the national sprinters to show their true colours at the Malaysia Open Athletics Championships on June 11-13, which will be one of the platforms for them to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games in July and the SEA Games on Nov 21-Dec 2.
“Maybe they were not primed to peak at the GP. I am sure the coaches wanted their athletes to avoid injuries because of the high intensity of the GP,” he explained, adding that the MAF are drawing up some plans, including sending national athletes to compete in invitational meets in the region and in Europe.