Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Another Two Gold, Malaysia Stay On Track In Athletics

KORAT, Dec 10 (Bernama) -- Malaysia harvested two more athletics gold today and the eight-gold medal target set for track and field, like the previous SEA Games in Manila, is still within reach.

Nineteen-year-old Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian showed the way with his golden debut in the Games, winning the 110m hurdles in a record time of 13.91 seconds while Siti Shahida Abdullah successfully defended her hammer throw title with an effort of 52.93 metres.

Their outstanding exploits helped take Malaysia's tally in athletics to five gold medals after four days of competition at the Main Stadium here and placed the national contingent in a good position to meet the target when the track and field events end tomorrow.

However, Moh Siew Wei, the defending champion in the women's 100m hurdles lost her crown finishing second behind Indonesia's Dedeh Erawati and the high hopes placed on long jumper Josbert Tinus disappeared into thin air.

But the heroic performance of the Sabah-born Rayzam Shah overshadowed the moments of frustration.

This is his first Sea Games and he had never ran below 14 secs. Neither was he the favourite.

But once the gun went off, Rayzam Shah never looked back. The record holder, Thailand's Suphan Wongsriphuck, who set 13.92s in Hanoi four years ago, was beaten into second place while the favourite, Muhammad Faiz Mohammad of Malaysia, came in third.

"I ran the race of my life, gave everything I had but I still can't believe that I had won," said Rayzam Shah.

For Siti Shahida, there were the moments when she thought she was going to lose it all. A foul throw on her first attempt and a poor 47.56m second attempt made her wonder if it was going to be a day of disaster.

"After two throws I was so nervous and tense. I could not afford to make more mistakes," she said.

But her fourth throw of 51.62m for the lead in the six-thrower field calmed her nerves and her sixth and final attempt of 52.93m merely confirmed her status as the deserving gold medallist.


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