Ak Hafiy posing with
his medals after
winning gold in the
1500m and bronze in
the 800m during the
Games in Australia in
2009. Picture: BT file
It never crossed his mind that he will be competing at the 2012 London Olympics.
National runner Ak Hafiy Tajuddin Pg Rositi hopes to leave a lasting impression at the July 27 - Aug 12 multi-sport event.
He will participate in the men's 400-metre event and is hoping to break his personal best of 49.23 seconds which he set at the 2012 Taiwan Open Athletics Championships in May.
"I'm really happy that I got chosen to represent Brunei because I never expected to be selected," said Ak Hafiy in an interview with The Brunei Times recently.
"My target at the Games will be to achieve a new best time. I'm really excited to go and hopefully I will be able to get into the 48-second mark or even break the national record," he said.
According to Ak Hafiy, the current national record stands at 48.50s.
Hafiy is not new to the big stage having competed at the IAAF World Indoor Championship in Istanbul, Turkey in March.
He also flew the flag for the country at the IAAF World Championship in Daegu, Korea and the 19th Asian Athletics Championships in Kobe, Japan last year.
Being the fifth out of a 10 siblings (four boys and six girls), his talent is a gift considering that the rest did not share the same level of interest in sports.
Ak Hafiy, who will celebrate his birthday on July 4, started running as a hobby back in 2008 before being introduced to Hj Khairil, who used to hold a running scheme at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium.
"I used to just run for fun with a couple of friends around the stadium area till one day I was asked to join Pg Hj Khairil (Anuar Pg Dato Paduka Damit) who was running a running scheme at that time. I decided to go and was hooked," said Hafiy, who gets his inspiration from American runner Michael Johnson.
"Once I finished studying, I put all my time into running. I did work part time because I needed to support myself as well," added the former Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien College pupil.
The Brunei-Muara runner is geared more towards endurance, claiming that his favourite events are the 400-metre, 800m and 1,500m. A good reason for this could be due to the fact that he never trained under a sprint coach.
He also hopes to be a role model for up and coming athletes, his motto being 'hard work is the key to success'.
"Just train hard and never give up no matter what. Just try your best eventhough it can be tough at the beginning," said Ak Hafiy.
The other two Bruneians who will fly the flag for the Sultanate at the Olympics are athletics teammate Maziah Mahusin and national swimmer Anderson Lim Chee Wei.
The trio's participation at the Games was made possible courtesy of the universality places that the world governing bodies for athletics and swimming, IAAF and FINA respectively, has opened to countries that have no qualified athletes.
Courtesy from Brunei Times