KUCHING (April 12): Sarawak’s prime 110m hurdler will attain one other profession milestone when he makes his SEA Games debut in Hanoi, Vietnam from May 12 to 23.
Mohd Rizzua Haizad is finest remembered for successful the occasion within the 2016 Sukma en path to erasing Sarawak’s first Olympian Bala Ditta’s 54-year-old state file of 14.60sec, the longest standing file within the guide.
Rizzua, who simply turned 25, might not have crushed the qualifying time for the regional video games. But he has proven sufficient promise for the Malaysia Athletics Federation (MAF) to pick out him below Category B.
MAF will foot the invoice however can be reimbursed by the Olympic Council of Malaysia if he wins a medal in Hanoi.
The 110m hurdles supplied excessive drama on the 2019 SEA Games within the Philippines.
Clinton Bautista of the host nation pipped Malaysia’s Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian in a controversial photograph end.
Both had been timed at 13.97s in an obvious dead-heat. There was no in need of disgruntled officers after Malaysia’s protest was turned down.
Xaysa of Laos was third in 13.99s which is used because the qualifying mark for this 12 months’s version.
Sabah-born Rayzam was the SEA Games champion in 2007 and 2017 with three silvers in between.
As pandemic-related restrictions have stifled athletes in coaching and competitors prior to now two years, he has additionally didn’t dip below 14sec since 2017.
The veteran can be chosen below Category B for his seventh SEA Games in Hanoi which may nicely grow to be his swansong.
The 34-year-old, who holds the nationwide file of 13.67s, has reigned as Malaysia’s excessive hurdles kingpin for over 15 years.
However, he was crushed by Rizzua in two main clashes this 12 months.
At the Perak All-Comers Meet in the direction of the top of February, the youthful man gained in a brand new private better of 14.11s (which ranks because the sixth finest in Malaysia’s all-time checklist) to comfortably beat Rayzam who was timed at 14.40s.
The Sarawakian gained once more per week later on the Malaysian Open Championships in Kuala Lumpur. It was a tighter race as Rizzua completed in 14.13 to Rayzam’s 14.19s.
Next month’s Vietnam SEA Games may set the stage for the altering of the guards between the 2 East Malaysians.
Rizzua has impressed with regular progress since his schooldays. The Bukit Jalil Sports School alumnus was the nationwide faculties Under-18 champion and represented Malaysia on the 2013 Youth Olympic Games held in Nanjing, China.
He improved his private finest from 14.54s in 2016 to 14.25s when he efficiently defended his Sukma title in 2018.
Interestingly, Rizzua can have one other rendevous with historical past and the legacy of 1964 Olympian Bala Ditta in Hanoi. He is the primary Sarawakian in 51 years to compete within the 110m hurdles on the SEA Games.
It was on the 1971 SEAP Games in Kuala Lumpur that Bala made his final worldwide comeback from retirement on the age of 34.
He snatched the silver medal in 14.70s behind 23-year-old compatriot Istiaq Mobarak who gained in a record-breaking 14.40s.
It’s an extended shot however Rizzua and Rayzam even have an opportunity to create historical past collectively subsequent month.
If they will pull off a 1-2 end for Malaysia, historical past repeats itself after one other Malaysian duo – a rising star and a retiring veteran – stood aspect by aspect on the rostrum on the Merdeka Stadium over half a century in the past.