IR­FAN’S DE­TER­MI­NA­TION

Dis­cus thrower at­tempt­ing to re­cover from in­jury in time

New Straits Times - - Sport - DEVINDER SINGH devinder@nst.com.my

IR­FAN Shamshud­din may well have be­come an Asian cham­pion had he not been ham­pered by a torn lower back mus­cle in­jury which sees him at­tempt­ing to re­cover in time for the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games.

Even though the dis­cus thrower had been car­ry­ing the in­jury for two months as he went to the Asian Cham­pi­onships in In­dia in early July, Ir­fan still won a sil­ver medal for Malaysia’s first podium fin­ish at the meet in eight years.

Ir­fan, who turns 22 on Aug 16, is not nick­named “The Beast” with­out rea­son.

He dis­played his steely de­ter­mi­na­tion and braved the pain to break the na­tional record three times af­ter com­ing down with the in­jury upon his ar­rival in early May.

The two-time Sea Games gold medal­list is con­fi­dent the in­jury will not pre­vent him from mak­ing it a hat-trick of vic­to­ries on Aug 22, when Ir­fan is ex­pected to de­liver Malaysia’s first athletics gold medal.

“I’m get­ting bet­ter day by day. The hard part is when I’m throw­ing, when I’m ro­tat­ing my body. I can still throw above 60 me­tres,” Ir­fan told Time­s­port in an in­ter­view ar­ranged by his spon­sor Un­der Ar­mour.

“It hap­pened when I ar­rived in Europe in May dur­ing gym train­ing. At first I felt just tight­ness which is nor­mal for an ath­lete.

“I thought it would dis­ap­pear in a few days. But it got worse and by the time of my first com­pe­ti­tion in Ger­many it was al­ready painful.

“I still man­aged to break the na­tional record three times be­cause I was in good shape. In In­dia, if not for the pain, I could have done bet­ter.”

Ir­fan’s na­tional record of 62.55 me­tres he set in Linz, Aus­tria on May 25 could be un­der threat again at the Sea Games should he re­cover full fit­ness in time.

“I can still do near 64 me­tres in train­ing but to trans­late that into com­pe­ti­tion is dif­fi­cult,” he said. “It af­fects you men­tally and not to think about the in­jury is very hard. “You have to be care­ful for fear of

mak­ing it worse. I think I just need an­other two weeks to re­cover fully. I see some good re­sults with the pain be­com­ing less.”

Ir­fan’s con­fi­dence is also boosted by the faith shown by Un­der Ar­mour, who signed him up in June.

“I had been look­ing for an ap­parel spon­sor for a long time,” said Ir­fan. “So with the Sea Games ap­proach­ing, it helps me that they have faith in me. I feel com­fort­able in the throw­ing shoes dur­ing train­ing and my needs are not much.”

Ir­fan Shamshud­din

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