Gold for Hup, another silver for Jonathan in Kazakhstan

KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — National high jumper Lee Hup Wei has strengthened his chances of earning a berth in the Tokyo Olympics after winning the Qosanov Memorial Athletics Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, today.

The 34-year-old secured the gold after clearing 2.10 metres (m), way below his personal best of 2.29m set in 2019.

It was a slight improvement from his season’s best of 2.05m set at the Malaysia Open Athletics Grand Prix (GP) in April despite him spraining his ankle today.

Timur Rakhmatullaev of Uzbekistan took the silver on countback after he and Alexandr Timoshin of Kazakhstan both cleared 2.08m.

Meanwhile, sprinters Jonathan Nyepa and Muhammad Ilham Suhaimi clinched silver and bronze respectively in the men’s 200m dash.

Jonathan, who also won silver in the 100m yesterday, clocked 21.76 seconds (s) while Muhammad Ilham finished in 21.92s. Kazakhstan’s Vitaliy Zems took gold in 21.19s.

In men’s triple jump, Muhammad Hakimi Ismail missed the podium by a mere 0.19 centimetre after leaping 15.62m.

Iran’s Hamid Reza Kia (16.18m) took gold, Uzbekistan’s Ivan Denisov (16.10m) the silver and Islam Sibagatullin (15.81m) the bronze.

National team manager Datuk Wan Hisham Wan Salleh felt that the meet had served its purpose in providing a much-needed tournament exposure to the athletes, who have gone more than a year without international competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Overall, it was a good exposure for the athletes, but they need more international-level competitions and the continued support from all parties. Hup Wei managed to earn extra points for his world rankings (towards Olympics qualification).

“After this, we need to attend to the injuries suffered by (long jumper) Andre Anura Anuar, Hup Wei and Hakimi. Hup Wei should be okay in a week or two, Hakimi suffered a bone spur while Andre is down with a recurring hamstring injury,” he said when contacted.

Yesterday, Connie Chu Kang Ni bagged gold in women’s discus while Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian took bronze in men’s 110m hurdles. — Bernama

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