Badrul Hisyam: The new king on the block

Badrul winning the 100m final on Monday. — Picture by Malay Mail
Badrul winning the 100m final on Monday. — Picture by Malay Mail

PETALING JAYA, Nov 25 — Malaysia’s latest sprint king is a mystery to many that some cannot even spell his name correctly!

Badrul Hisyam Manap, who is the country’s new athletics darling after breaking Watson Nyambek’s 17-year 100m record on Monday with a time of 10.29s, is an unassuming lad from Malacca who studies at Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) in Bandar Penawar, Johor.

He added the 200m title when he set an Asean Schools Games (ASC) record of 21.39s yesterday. Countryman Khairul Hafiz Jantan finished second with a time of 21.47s.

Badrul never complained when his name was misspelled as “Badrol” and “Hisham” but has always been confident to state his intention of breaking the 100m and 200m records.

“I’m not bothered my name was spelled wrongly. All I want to do is run as fast as I can.

“I’m happy to defend both my titles (100m and 200m) and I’m delighted to have broken the national record,” said Badrul, who has two big assignments in June next year at the Sukma in Sarwak and World Junior Championships in Kazan, Russia.

He has already conquered Watson’s record (10.30s) and now, after once running faster than Tan Sri Dr M. Jegathesan’s 200m record, albeit wind assisted, looks set to erase the longest-standing mark in Malaysian athletics history.

“To hit that timing (10.29s) at this age is a commendable feat. I believe he can get even better. I see him blossoming in the next two to three years and hitting greater heights,” said Jegathesan, who expects Badrul to shatter his 200m record of 20.92s set at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

“He is clearly ahead of his pack and has the right ingredients and skill set in terms of body physique and running style. If he can maintain the same pace over double the distance, the potential to break the 200m record is there,” he added of Badrul, who had eclipsed his time after clocking 20.88s at the Universiti Malaysia Perlis Athletics Open five weeks ago.

Unfortunately, the tailwind exceeded 2.0m/s and it was not recognised as a record.

But the Malacca-born lad already had the hallmark of a champion, winning the 100m and 200m at the Kedah Open in April, before going on to clinch the 200m event at the Asian Youth Games and 100m title at the ASC in Naypyidaw and Wuhan.

National coach Zainal Abas, however, warned: “We must be patient and not expect too much too soon. He is only 18. We do not want to overwork him in training and risk burnout. But Badrul has plenty of potential.

“His strength lies in his explosiveness and quickness off the starting blocks. He has spades of stamina and is dedicated to constantly improving in training. With proper guidance and care, he’ll be able to go far and improve on his timing.”

SSTMI principal Suhaimi Sun Abdullah revealed Badrul suffered a slight injury before the SEA Games and that coach Poad Kassim had changed his training regime to focus on his starts and finishes.

That has worked out perfectly as his starts have been a factor in his improved timings.