Pole vaulter tar­gets Sea Games gold af­ter set­ting new in­door record

New Straits Times - - Sport - DEVINDER SINGH ISKAN­DAR ALWI

ISKAN­DAR Alwi is eye­ing fur­ther im­prove­ments to put him­self in gold medal con­tention at the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games af­ter set­ting a new na­tional in­door pole vault record in Tai­wan on Wednesday.

The 2015 Sea Games bronze medal­list cleared 5.20 me­tres to fin­ish fifth at the Tai­wan International In­door Pole Vault Cham­pi­onships in Cao­tun.

Iskan­dar was one of four vaulters to fin­ish on 5.20m, an im­prove­ment on his pre­vi­ous in­door record of 5.15m set at the same meet in 2015 and match­ing his out­door record, also set two years ago.

He only missed out on a place on the podium on count­back with Amer­i­can Vic­tor Weirich clear­ing 5.30m for the win, ahead of Fin­land’s To­mas Weck­stein and South Korean Jin Min-Sub, 2014 Asian Games bronze medal­list, in joint-sec­ond.

How­ever, af­ter Thai­land’s Por­ra­not Pu­ra­hong won Sea Games gold in 2015 with a new meet record of 5.30m, Iskan­dar knows he has his work cut out for him in the next few months.

“I’m glad that af­ter more than a year in which I failed to clear 5.20m, I man­aged to do it again,” Iskan­dar told Time­s­port yes­ter­day.

“This is a good start to the year for me. Now my next aim is to im­prove on my per­sonal best.”

No Malaysian has won the men’s pole vault gold since Teh Weng Chang at the 2001 Kuala Lumpur Sea Games.

In the women’s event, which was won by Amer­i­can Kourt­ney Ross (4.30m), Chuah Yu Tian cleared 3.30m to fin­ish join­teighth of 11 vaulters.

Mean­while, the na­tional sprint­ers re­turned to ac­tion dur­ing their South African stint in Ger­mis­ton on Wednesday with­out reach­ing the heights of two weeks ago.

Zai­datul Hus­niah Zulk­i­fli, who smashed the na­tional women’s 100m record with a 11.45 sec­onds run on Mar 9, fin­ished sixth in the women’s 100m A fi­nal in 11.98s at the Ath­let­ics South Africa speed se­ries meet. Team­mate S. Ko­ma­lam Shally clocked the same time in the B fi­nal.

Na­tional record holder Khairul Hafiz Jan­tan was the best of the Malaysian sprint­ers when he clocked 10.51s for sec­ond in the men’s 100m C fi­nal.

Jonathan Nyepa (10.65s) and Badrul Hisyam Manap (10.65s) were marginally slower in the B fi­nal while na­tional schools cham­pion Haiqal Hanafi timed 10.90s.

The four run­ners then com­bined to steer the 4x100m team to third place in 40.18s.

This is a good start to the year for me. Now my next aim is to im­prove on my per­sonal best.

Shereen Sam­son Val­labouy posted a sea­son’s best of 54.91s to place fourth in the women’s 400m with team­mate Nu­rul Faizah Asma Ma­zlan sixth on 56.69s.

Iskan­dar Alwi set a new na­tional record in the in­door pole vault at a meet in Tai­wan on Wednesday.

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