Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Teenager Rayzam hurdles his way to a surprise gold

HURDLER Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian got into the SEA Games squad only because 2005 champion Robani Hassan was injured.

But not content with seeking exposure, the teenager ran the race of his life to not only bag the men’s 110m hurdles gold medal but he also shattered the Games record.

The 19-year-old Sabahan clocked 13.91 to better the previous record of 13.92 set by Thailand’s Suphan Wongsriphuck in Hanoi in 2003.

Suphan won the silver in 13.95 and another Malaysian, Mohd Faiz Mohd, took the bronze in 14.00.

Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian waving the Jalur Gemilang after winning the men’s 110m hurdles.
Faiz was the silver medallist behind Robani in Manila two years ago.

“When I was named as Robani’s replacement, I told myself that I needed to make full use of this rare chance. I dedicate this victory to all the people in Keningau, my hometown in Sabah,” said Rayzam.

“I was not paying attention to the other lanes during the race as my only focus was to stay ahead of the pack. I am happy to have beaten Faiz for the first time, and also the double bonus of finishing ahead of Suphan and breaking his Games record.”

Prior to yesterday’s race, Rayzam had not dipped below 14 seconds, and had a 14.15 personal best set at the national championships in Kangar this year.

Moh Siew Wei failed to make it a double celebration for Malaysia, settling for silver in the defence of her women’s 100m hurdles title.

Siew Wei, who had been out of action for much of the year, clocked 13.61. Indonesian Dedah Erawati won in 13.51.

After the race, Siew Wei, 29, announced that she wished to retire from competitions.

“I was simply not fit enough to match Dedah over the final two hurdles. I would not have competed in Korat but was persuaded to do so by coach Hanapiah Nasir. I am sorry that I let him down,” said the bank executive.

“I guess the time is right for me to quit and concentrate on my career and raise a family. I feel under-appreciated despite having represented the nation for a decade,” added Siew Wei, who suffered from a low red blood cell count and also had several injuries this year.

Meanwhile, both the Malaysian men’s and women’s 4x100m teams delivered the bronze medal.

The men’s quartet of Arif Naim Jeffry, Mohd Noor Imran Hadi, Mohd Latif Nyat and Mohd Zabidi Ghazali finished in 39.90, behind Thailand (38.95, Games record) and Indonesia (39.79).

The women’s team of Noor Hazwinie Norizan, Siti Fatimah Mohamad, Azizah Ibrahim and Norjannah Jamaluddin also did well to earn a podium finish. They clocked 46.38, behind winners Thailand (44.00, Games record) and Vietnam (45.62).


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