Khairul Hafiz eyes sprint double at SEA Games

National sprint king Khairul Hafiz Jantan is aiming for the double sprint gold and SEA Games’ record next month. — Bernama pic
National sprint king Khairul Hafiz Jantan is aiming for the double sprint gold and SEA Games’ record next month. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — After breaking the long-standing national 100m and 200m records, national sprint king Khairul Hafiz Jantan is now eyeing for the double sprint gold and SEA Games’ record next month.

The 18-year-old from Melaka wants to create a “big surprise” during the athletics programme of the biennial sporting event which takes place at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium here, from August 22-26.

Yesterday, Khairul Hafiz broke the 49-year-old 200m record set by former sprinter Tan Sri Dr M. Jegathesan (20.92 seconds) at the 94th Malaysia Open Athletics Championship with a time of 20.90s.

Just one year ago, he broke the national 100m record held by Watson Nyambek (10.30s) after clocking 10.18s at the SUKMA held in Sarawak, last July.

“This is a very significant achievement for me, this record has not been broken for 49 years, and finally I managed to break the record.

“I am passionate about the SEA Games because I have figured out my running strategy. After this, I have to follow the training and advice of my coach Mohd Poad Md Kassim and continue improving my performance,” he told reporters after the prize presentation ceremony.

His time also erased the meet record set by Japan’s Kento Terada (20.94s) during the 1996 edition in Kangar, Perlis.

The silver medal went to Jonathan Nyepa of Sarawak with a time of 21.29s while Perak’s G. Aravinn Thevar took home the bronze with 21.31s.

When asked about the secret behind his success, Khairul said: “Trust (in God), prayers... I pray a lot to God because He knows the hardship we face, right.”

Meanwhile, Mohd Poad said he would ensure Khairul continues to focus on the biennial Games next month.

“Actually, Khairul can run faster than this, but we only targeted 20.90s for today. He is a very disciplined person and listens to the instructions of his coach and parents.

“His self-esteem is at a high level right now after learning from the disqualified start at the Asian Track and Field Championships in India. God willing he will be able to clinch the double gold in the SEA Games,” he said. — Bernama