Watch your back Khairul – as Aqil’s catching up fast in the sprints

Muhd Aqil Yasmin

IPOH: Muhd Aqil Yasmin has come out of the shadows of national sprinter Khairul Hafiz Jantan to be a potential star of next year’s SEA Games.

The Selangor-born athlete clocked a personal best of 10.39 to win the boys’ 100m in the Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Perak. Aqil finished second to Khairul in the 200m at the Sarawak Sukma in Kuching in 2016, but he blazed the track at the Perak Stadium to clock a personal best of 21.01 to shatter Khairul’s Sukma record of 21.03 which was set in Kuching.

 Aqil’s efforts surpassed the SEA Games silver medal qualifying mark of 21.22 set by Thailand’s Jirapong Meenapra in Kuala Lumpur last year. His 21.01 is the fourth fastest time clocked by a Malaysian in the 200m. Khairul clocked the fastest time with a national record of 20.90 at the Malaysian Open last year.
Tan Sri Dr M. Jegathesan clocked the second fastest time, 20.92, at the 1968 Mexico Olympics, and Azmi Ibrahim clocked the third fastest time of 20.97 at the KL SEA Games in 2001.

Aqil said that he was happy to set a new 200m Sukma record, but he believes that he can go even faster in his pet event.

“I want to dip below 21 seconds in competitions next year. And I also want to break the national record of 20.90. To achieve that, I have to train much harder,” said Aqil, who is trained by coach Simon Lau.

Aqil, who is pursuing a degree in sports science at the Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) in Shah Alam, said that his main challenge would be to maintain his good form in competitions.

“My mission next year will be the SEA Games and I have 14 months to prepare for it,” said Aqil.

The future of athletics looks good as a total of seven Sukma records were broken in the Games.

Sprinter Azreen Nabila Alias was named the best female athlete in the Games for winning three golds.

The 18-year-old broke the girls’ 100m Games record with a time of 11.81 and she posted a personal best of 24.76 in the 200m. She also anchored Terengganu to win the 4x100m.

The other record breakers were Muhammad Ilham Suhaimi of Selangor in the boys’ 400m; Andre Anura Anuar of Sabah in the boys’ triple jump; Johnny Ling Siew Hong of Sarawak in the boys’ hammer throw; Puteri Nur Adillah Shik Azizir Rahman of Negri Sembilan in the girls’ pole vault, and Winnie Eng May Xin of Federal Territories in the heptathlon.

Meanwhile, S. Poovasanthan of Pahang emerged as the new middle and long distance star after winning golds in the 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m.


By: Aftar Singh