KUALA LUMPUR – Former National 200m record holder Tan Sri Dr M. Jegathesan or the ‘Flying Doctor’ as he was known, hopes national sprint sensation Khairul Hafiz Jantan will follow his footsteps and emerge as an Asian Games gold medalist one day.
The triple gold medallist at the 1966 Bangkok Asian Games, who was delighted with Khairul Hafiz’s time of 20.90 seconds which smashed his 49-year-old record, hopes to see the teenager go beyond excellence at the SEA Games.
Dr. Jegathesan is also pleased with the emergence of new talents like Jonathan Nyepa, G. Aravinn Thevar, Badrul Hisyam Abdul Manap and Nixson Kennedy while Khairul Hafiz has emerged as a serious contender for the sprint double at the Kuala Lumpur 2017 SEA Games, next month.
“I did not expect my record to last so long and finally Khairul broke it. He is very promising and showcasing great talent with his consistent performances.
“Khairul has another one month to prepare to win the gold and stand tall as only few Malaysians to win the 200m SEA Games gold medal. I hope he will go on to win the Asian Games medal too,” said Dr Jegathesan, who is now in Bahamas, when contacted by Bernama today.
Dr Jegathesan, who is the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Medical Commission chairman is currently attending the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in Nassau, Bahamas.
During the 94th Malaysian Open Athletics Championships held at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil, the 18-year-old Khairul broke the long standing record of 20.92s set by Dr Jegathesan during the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.
The time is also just 0.01s shy of the 20.89s set by Vietnam’s Le Trong Hinh at the previous SEA Games in Singapore two years ago while the SEA Games record of 20.69s is held by Reanchai Seeharwong of Thailand which was set at the 1999 edition in Brunei.
Malaysian athletes made a clean sweep of the men’s 200m event yesterday when Jonathan of Sarawak clocked 21.29 to claim the silver while Perak’s Aravinn bagged the bronze in 21.31s, at the championship which is also known as the pre-SEA Games meet.
The feat by Khairul was a second major achievement in his budding career as a sprinter since he had also smashed the National 100m record of 10.30s held by Watson Nyambek after clocking 10.18s at the Sarawak Malaysia Games (SUKMA) in Kuching, last year. – BERNAMA