Nau­raj aims to soar in Lon­don

New Straits Times - - Sport -

BE­FORE he re­turns home for a Sea Games hat-trick bid, Nau­raj Singh Rand­hawa will be aim­ing to make a bit of his­tory for Malaysian ath­let­ics at the World Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don this week.

The high jumper will be com­pet­ing in the qual­i­fy­ing round to­mor­row as he looks to be­come the first Malaysian to qual­ify for a field event fi­nal at the world meet.

Hav­ing spent over a month tun­ing up in Europe, Nau­raj de­clared him­self ready for a crack at mak­ing the 12-man fi­nal on Sun­day.

"Things are go­ing well. So far so good," Nau­raj, 25, told Time­s­port yes­ter­day.

"You could say that I'm ready to com­pete on Fri­day.

"We (with coach Alex Ste­wart) had a good prepa­ra­tion stint in France prior to com­ing to Lon­don and we are pleased with how train­ing had been. So right now I'm just look­ing for­ward to com­pete this Fri­day."

Nau­raj had his fi­nal warm-up in Cologne, Ger­many on July 19 where he cleared 2.24 me­tres hav­ing ear­lier won meets in Barcelona and Castel­lon. He spent the next two weeks in France in getting ready for Lon­don, where he ar­rived on Satur­day.

Af­ter nar­rowly miss­ing out on mak­ing the Rio Olympics fi­nal on count back last year, Nau­raj is de­ter­mined to make good on his world meet de­but.

"So far I'm feel­ing good and nor­mal," said Nau­raj, who qual­i­fied for Lon­don af­ter set­ting the na­tional record of 2.30m at the Sin­ga­pore Open in April.

"I'm do­ing my best to stay calm and not be­ing wor­ried or trou­bled over mat­ters that are out of my con­trol and just do­ing what I can while I can.

"I mean I've put in the work and now it's just a mat­ter of be­ing pa­tient and go out there and com­pete. I stand a good chance of mak­ing the fi­nal and I'll just have to play my game right and hope­fully with no un­nec­es­sary mis­takes, it will pay off."

Among the com­peti­tors Nau­raj will face are Qatar’s Mu­taz Essa Barshim, the world’s lead­ing jumper this year, reign­ing Olympic cham­pion and world ti­tle holder Derek Drouin of Canada, China’s Zhang Guowei and Bo­hdan Bon­darenko of Ukraine, the silver and bronze medal­lists re­spec­tively from the 2015 World Cham­pi­onships.

Af­ter the world meet, Nau­raj will turn his at­ten­tion to the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games on Aug 19-30 where he will be bid­ding to win a third suc­ces­sive high jump gold medal. Devinder Singh

Nau­raj Singh Rand­hawa is aim­ing to be­come the first Malaysian to qual­ify for a field event fi­nal at the World Cham­pi­onships.

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