(L-R) Mohd Fakhri Ismail, Muhd Nur Firdaus Ar Rasyid, Abdul Rahim Abdullah and Mohd As Syafie Bohari posing for a group photo after winning the men's 4x100m relay at the 2014 Malaysia Open Athletics Championship in Perlis, Malaysia yesterday. Picture: Courtesy of Aida Tawang
The national men's 4x100m relay team delivered Brunei their first gold medal of the 2014 Malaysia Open Athletics Championship in Perlis, Malaysia yesterday.
Abdul Rahim Abdullah, Mohd As Syafie Bohari, Mohd Fakhri Ismail and Muhd Nur Firdaus Ar Rasyid clocked a time of 41.57s to finished ahead of Sabah, who recorded 41.64s. Malaysia Armed Forces finished third on 41.96 while Perlis finish fourth with a time of 43.04s at the Tuanku Syed Putra Stadium in Kangar.
"I am very proud and happy for the athletes, they proved today that they are talented and able to compete with the athletes in the region," said team manager Aida Tawang in a phone interview with The Brunei Times last night.
"The association (Brunei Athletic Association) did not force them to get a medal and what we needed was for them to perform very well in the tournament, but today they have proved to us that they can win," he added.
The women's 4x100m relay team finished fifth out of six teams after clocking a time of 50.02s, while Leong Sheo Yee finished fourth in the women's 800m event after clocking 2:41.35mins. On Wednesday, Muhd Fakhri finished fifth in the men's 100m with 10.82s, beating his previous best time of 10.88s.
About 600 athletes from Malaysian states, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Syria, Sri Lanka and Thailand are competing in the 91st edition of the Championship this year.
Sixteen national athletes are representing the country in the competition; London 2012 Olympian Maziah Mahusin, Dk Umi Ramizah Pg Hj Jaluddin, Fatin Farah Nabillah Ismail Shahdan, Hj Muhd Nur Zul Isamuddin Hj Wan Zulaini, Liaw Choon Fat, Mohd Adenin Bolhan, Mohd Rachmat Safar, Norhidayatullah Johari, Nurazurin Abd Rahman and brothers Nazery and Sharmin Nain making up the rest of the field.
Brunei is competing in 10 events - 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 4x100m, 4x400m, discus, shot put and javelin - at the three-day tournament which ends today. In a previous report in The Brunei Times, BAA president Kifli Hj Jaafar said the association was not expecting the athletes to win medals.
"The target in this competition is that we would like to see the athletes break their personal record, but if they manage to win medals, it would be a bonus," said Kifli on Monday. "The aim of sending these athletes to the tournament is also to see and gauge the standards of our athletes among the other athletes in the Southeast Asian (SEA) region as we are preparing for the upcoming SEA Games in Singapore in 2015," he added.
The Malaysia Athletics Federation (MAF) is organising the event with the partnership of Milo, World of Sports and the National Sports Council. MAF's website states the Championship is one of the major events on MAF's calender for the year, and it promises to be different from past years as the decathlon and pentathlon events are included.
The Championship aims to expose Malaysian national athletes to higher levels of competition, and MAF is hopeful that the Championship will allow some of its national athletes to qualify for the Asian Games that will be held at Incheon, South Korea, from September 19 to October 2.