KUALA LUMPUR: National young sprinter, Muhammad Azeem Fahmi will have a chance to create a sensation at a world meet after confirming his participation in 100 metres (m) and 200m at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Cali, Colombia next month.
Muhammad Azeem who had qualified for the 100m earlier, also qualified for 200m when he beat the qualifying time with his personal best of 20.89 seconds (s) in his gold medal victory at the Sarawak Junior Athletics Championships yesterday.
National athletics squad chief coach Mohd Manshahar Abdul Jalil believed with his latest performance, Muhammad Azeem who recorded his personal best at 10.28s in 100m is capable of running faster in both events in Cali.
“Chance for him (in Cali) with 10.28s (100m) and 20.89s (200m), he could at least break into the top 12 or 16. If Azeem could enter one of the finals, it is a good indication for the young sprinter.
“He is 18 years old, still free of injury and is being trained by his coach. There is a great future for Azeem. It would not be a surprise for him to improve his timing one month from now in Cali,” he said when contacted by Bernama today.
In the Sarawak meet, the 20.89s mark was the second-fastest in the history of 200m in the country after the national record of 20.77s set by Russel Alexander Nasir Taib, while Muhammad Azeem also set a new national junior record.
The World Athletics U-20 Championships scheduled from August 1 to 6 could also be the venue to redeem his disappointment in the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam in May after he was disqualified in 100m for a false start.
Apart from Muhammad Azeem, three national junior athletes who would also be appearing in the world junior meet in Cali are men’s 110m hurdles runner Elvin Yap, Jonah Chang (men’s shot put) and Muhammad Shah Sholihin in men’s triple jump.
Mohd Manshahar said the size of the national squad is similar to the 2016 world edition in Bydogoszcz, Poland as there would be no athletics meet by the closing date next week.
He said the four junior athletes are a positive indication of the prospects of national athletics.
“Elvin clocked 14.02s in Johor Open...with his physique and height, he has a bright future, similarly with Jonah who recorded 19.40m in Germany and Muhammad Shah who is a newcomer with a jump of 15.60m in Pahang Open.
“In the triple jump, we have successors for Muhammad Hakimi Ismail in Andre Anura Anuar and now Muhammad Shah, so there is no lack of talents there in the long run,” he said. - Bernama