Cool Khairul a step away from history

PETALING JAYA — Asian junior champion Khairul Hafiz Jantan dashed his way into the 100m semifinals of the World Junior Athletics Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland yesterday after clocking 10.44s in the second heat.

The last time a Malaysian junior sprinter qualified to the semifinal of the World Junior Championships was Azmi Ibrahim in 1994. Azmi, however, failed to reach the final.

Khairul’s compatriot Badrul Hisyam Manap was eliminated after finishing fifth with a time of 10.66s in the fourth heat of the day. Badrul missed the semifinals by 0.01s.

Coach Mohd Poad Mohd Kassim said: “I had hoped for both to qualify to the semifinals. Unfortunately, Badrul cracked under pressure.

“Khairul is doing a good job but of course there is a few techniques he still needs to improve to qualify for the final.

“If Khairul manages to do so, it will be bonus for us,” he said.

The youngsters initially wanted to skip the junior meet to focus on the Malaysian Games in Kuching from July 22 to 31. However they will now compete in both competitions.

The 100m semifinal is today and the final tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Azmi told stadiumastro.com: “I’m happy one of them reached the semifinals. I hope Khairul goes on to reach the final.”

Azmi said he suffered a hamstring injury 10m from the finishing line 22 years ago but still managed to clock 10.48s in the semifinals.

“I was in a good position at that time but pulled up towards the end. I’m glad another Malaysian now has the chance to create history.”

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