National sprinter Maizurah Abdul Rahim posing for a photo with the Rio Olympics mascot in Rio de Janerio last week. The 17-year-old has promised to come back stronger in the 200m after failing to beat her personal best during Tuesday’s heats. Picture: Courtesy of Maizurah Abdul Rahim
MAIZURAH Abdul Rahim is looking to bounce back stronger after falling short of a new personal best in the women’s 200m heats at the Rio Olympics on Monday.
The 17-year-old Maizurah, the nation’s youngest-ever athlete to compete in the Olympics, clocked a time of 28.02 seconds in Heat 8 to finish at the end of the 72-participant field at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Maizurah’s personal best remains the 27.85s which she set at the Philippines Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) Philippine Open in April.
American Tori Bowie set the fastest time in Heat 8 after clocking 22.47s. The entry mark for the event in Rio was set at 23.20s, with Maizurah competing due to the universality place which the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) opened to countries with no qualified athletes.
“Competing in the Olympics was a dream come true for me, and I am happy and proud to be given the opportunity to compete in the greatest tournament in the world,” said Maizurah in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday. “I’ve learned a lot by meeting some of the world class athletes, and this is the time for me to re-evaluate what I was lacking prior to the competition.
“The experience, the exposure and being able to represent the country has taught me to come out stronger — so this is just the beginning for me,” continued the youngster, who is only the second female Olympian after Maziah Mahusin — who represented the sultanate in London four years ago.
When asked about her next target, Maizurah said she hopes to break the national 200m record of 25.22s which Alinawati Ali Akbar set at the 2001 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur. “My next target is to break the 200m national record in one of the local upcoming tournaments such as the Brunei Track and Field Open Championship (Brunei Open) or the Brunei Darussalam National Games (SKBD) — so there will be no rest days for me when I come back,” said Maizurah.
“I trained as hard as I could for the Olympics, but at the end of the day, my best achievement was to go out there and perform to my best. I did that in the Olympics, so I hope that alone is enough to make the country and my coach proud.”
Also competing in Rio were sprinter Md Fakhri Ismail and shuttler Jaspar Yu Woon Chai.
Yu lost to World No 12 Hu Yun of Hong Kong and World No 34 and reigning European Games champion Pablo Abian of Spain in his group stage play while Md Fakhri was unable to break his 100m national record of 10.59s which he set at last year’s SEA Games in Singapore.