Abdul Haqim Hj Yahya (L) and national jumping coach Joseph Kameni at the Wunna Theikdi Stadium yesterday. BT/Jason Thomas
National jumping coach Joseph Kameni (pic) has advised Abdul Haqim Hj Yahya to consider competing in the long jump event in the future.
Abdul Haqim, who competed in the high jump event at the 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on Wednesday, was unable to set a new national record after failing to clear 2.05m after three tries.
He cleared the minimum1.90m and then jumped 1.95m and 2.00m, though the 2.05m proved to be a barrier too far - with Demingo Kapal still holding the national record of 2.04m set in 1992.
Abdul Haqim's personal best is the 2.03m he recorded at the 2011 Sabah Open.
All of the competitors had a height advantage over Abdul Haqim in the event won by Malaysia's Nauraj Singh Randhawa with 2.17m, which Kameni was quick to point out.
"From what we've observed, all the other high jump athletes are very tall - Abdul Haqim is the shortest here," noted Kameni after the event.
"According to me, and I think Haqim agrees too, he should concentrate on the long jump in the future.
"If he aspires to be at the Asean level, he needs to compete in the long jump
"Haqim runs very fast and he also has a good jump, so that will be an advantage for him if he decides to switch.
"He will be able to adjust," added the Cameroonian who has more than 20 years of experience as a coach.
Kameni, who took over the vacant national jumping coach job in July, has coached world class athletes such as Francoise Mbango Etone and Hugo Mamba-Schlick.
Both Cameroonians, Etone won triple jump gold at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics while Mamba-Schlick won silver in the same event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Abdul Haqim, who has been competing for the country since 2006, agreed with Kameni but said he is not about to forget the high jump event - and the record.
"I am thinking about the long jump because I have a good personal best in the event, 6.70m," said Abdul Haqim after his event.
"I saw some of the jumpers at the (long jump) event and one of them jumped 7.80m (the Philippines' Henry Dagmil won the event with 7.80m followed by Thailand's Supanara Sukhasvasti Na Ayudhay (7.71m) and Vietnam's Van Lam Pham (7.53m).
"The national long jump record of 7.64m was set by Daniel Chung in 1993.
"But even if I do switch to the long jump, I still want to do the high jump and improve on the national record.
"It's got my name on it," he smiled.