KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 23 ― “Speedy Jantan” Khairul Hafiz Jantan who emerged as the fastest man in Southeast Asia today is eyeing a treble and wants Malaysians to cheer him on to make it a reality.
Khairul Hafiz , 19, who ended a 14-year gold medal drought for Malaysia in the 100m sprint in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games last night, said it was the “energy” supplied by fans that gave him the extra “push” to deliver as he was quite nervous in the beginning.
The last time Malaysia bagged the gold in the blue ribband event was at the 2003 Vietnam Games when Nazmizan Muhammad emerged the winner.
“It’s normal, feeling a bit nervous in the final. But it all came together and I wish to dedicate this gold medal to my family, coach Mohd Poad Md Kassim and all Malaysians.
“I am grateful to Allah for this win and to be able to reciprocate the trust placed in me by my family, coach and the people of Malaysia,” he told reporters after the medal presentation ceremony.
He will be competing in the 200m and 4x100m relay today.
Khairul Hafiz beat defending champion Eric Cray of the Philippines in the final. His time was 10.38s while Eric had to settle for silver with 10.43s. Thailand’s Kritsada Namsuwun also did 10.43s but had to settle for bronze based on the photo-finish.
As for Mohd Poad, he said Khairul Hafiz’s feat came as no surprise as he had done 10.18s before this besides his showing top discipline in preparations.
“I thank Allah for Khairul’s victory. He was feeling a little uncomfortable in his legs before the final but his mental strength, strong faith and support of the people saw him through.
“And another thing, I will keep his cellphone before a race so that there are no distractions,” he said. ― Bernama