Selangor Journal
Malaysia’s Muhd Azeem Fahmi reacts after winning Heat 2 at the World Athletics Championship in Budapest, Hungary on Aug 19, 2023 — Picture by REUTERS

Asian Games: Sprinter Azeem wins bronze in 100m dash

HANGZHOU, Sept 30 — Malaysian sprint sensation Muhammad Azeem Mohd Fahmi displayed an astounding run to bag the bronze medal in the Asian Games men’s 100m event at the Hangzhou Olympic Stadium here tonight.

Muhammad Azeem’s achievement of winning his first medal at any international level also ended the country’s 41-year wait for a podium finish in the blue ribbon event since Datuk Rabuan Pit claimed gold in the 1982 edition in New Delhi, India.

The 19-year-old ensured his place on the podium after clocking 10.11 seconds (s), just 0.02s slower than his national record of 10.09s set at the Under-20 World Athletics Championships 2022  in Cali, Colombia.

China’s Xie Zhenye equalled his personal best of 9.97s to claim the gold, while Thailand’s Puripol Boonson also did well to take home silver with a time of 10.02s after his compatriot Soraoat Dapbang was disqualified for a false start.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect myself to be on the podium for tonight because I knew it was going to be a very tough race. All the finalists ran below 10.20s, this is actually one of the fastest races in the Asian Games because everyone qualified for the finals with their personal and season bests.

“The medal tonight means a lot to me, even though it’s a bronze…I dedicate it to my parents, Mohd Fahmi Tajuid and Norazah Ibrahim, to whom I promised I’d try my best to deliver a medal, because this is my last competition for this year.

“Alhamdulillah, I managed to keep my promise. It’s the best possible end for this season,” he told reporters after the race.

After tonight’s feat, the Asian Games debutant will compete in the men’s 4x100m relay on Tuesday.

Muhammad Azeem advanced to the finals after clocking 10.17s in semi-final 1 to finish second behind Lalu Muhammad Zohri  of Indonesia, who clocked 10.12s .

Meanwhile, former 100m national record holder and 2017 SEA Games champion, Khairul Hafiz Jantan missed the finals after finishing last in heat 2 with 10.63s.

The last Malaysian men’s sprinter to qualify for the Asian Games 100m was Watson Nyambek, who finished fourth in the 1998 edition in Bangkok, Thailand with a time of 10.32s.

Earlier, national track queen Shereen Samson Vallabouy ended Malaysia’s 17-year medal drought in Asian Games athletics when she clinched bronze in the women’s 400m.

The last time Malaysia won a medal for athletics at the Asiad was in the 2006 edition in Doha, Qatar through pole vaulter Roslinda Samsu (silver) and 400m hurdler Noraseela Mohd Khalid (bronze).

In another development, Jackie Wong Siew Cheer fell far off his national record of 68.22m after only managing a throw of 62.79m to finish 11th among 13 participants in the men’s hammer throw event.

Long jumper Andre Anura Anuar missed the finals, finishing 19th among 20 participants in the semi-finals with 6.71m, way off his national record of 8.02m.

— Bernama

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