Nani Shahi­rah, Nor Aliyah star for Malaysia at Asean ju­niors meet

New Straits Times - - Sport -


TWO ath­letes who starred in the Un­der15 cat­e­gory of last year’s Malaysian Schools Cham­pi­onships jus­ti­fied their se­lec­tion af­ter win­ning half of Malaysia’s six gold medals at the South­east Asian Youth Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships ear­lier this week.

The per­for­mances of thrower Nani Shahi­rah Mary­ata and sprinter Nor Aliyah Ab­dul Rah­man at the two-day meet which ended on Tues­day in Ila­gan City, the Philip­pines proved send­ing young ath­letes for ex­po­sure can be re­ward­ing.

Al­though the meet caters to ath­letes aged 17 and be­low, the Malaysian Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tion took a bold move to send Nor Aliyah, 15, and Nani, 16, to com­pete against older ath­letes.

Nani com­pleted a dou­ble by win­ning shot put and dis­cus gold medals while Nor Aliyah re­turned with a 200m gold and 100m bronze in the girls’ events.

“This is the first in­ter­na­tional out­ing for most of the ath­letes and they did well in the cir­cum­stances,” said na­tional chief coach Zainal Abas.

“The ath­letes were iden­ti­fied last year and mon­i­tored since then while they also at­tended a train­ing camp in De­cem­ber. Some are only 15 or 16, so it was good ex­po­sure for them.”

Malaysia’s three other gold medals came from triple jumper Nazri Mustafa and javelin thrower Ah­mad Rus­tam Razali in the boys’ events and Kar­mentina Na­dia Quadra in the girls’ 100m hur­dles.

The na­tional youth ath­letes also won six sil­ver and six bronze medals to fin­ish sec­ond in the medal tally be­hind Viet­nam (138-0).

But the medals re­turn was sig­nif­i­cantly lower than the 13-gold haul last year when Malaysia boasted the likes of sprinter Haiqal Hanafi, thrower Grace Wong and Zaimah Ati­fah Zain­ud­din, who all won two gold medals each.

“There were lim­i­ta­tions on the num­ber of ath­letes we could send so we de­cided to split them up for this meet and the Asian Youth Games in Sin­ga­pore,” said Zainal.

Soli­hin Ja­mali just missed out on re­tain­ing Haiqal’s 100m gold medal for Malaysia when he clocked 10.92 sec­onds to fin­ish run­ner-up to Thai­land’s Kit­tipoom Kho­l­arsa (10.90s) be­fore also tak­ing sil­ver in the 200m.

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