KUALA LUMPUR, 7 Jul : Discus thrower Irfan Shamshuddin delivered Malaysia’s first medal at the Asian Track and Field Championships in eight years by winning silver in Bhubaneswar, India on Thursday.
Irfan, 21, threw the discus to 60.96 metres with his penultimate effort to leap past defending champion Vikas Gowda of India, who had to settle for bronze on 60.81m.
Iran’s three-time Asian Games gold medalist Ehsan Hadadi claimed his sixth Asian title with a season’s best 64.54m.
Irfan, a two-time SEA Games gold medalist, arrived in India with a lower back muscle tear but vowed to do his best.
Though he fell short of his national record of 62.55m, it was good enough to win Malaysia’s first medal – and the 48th in the history of the championships – since Noraseela Khalid’s silver in the women’s 400m hurdles in 2009.
“It is very encouraging that Irfan continues to progress and throw above 60 metres,” said national coach Zainal Abas. “Today’s result proved that he can stand tall and challenge the best in Asia.”
In other events, Khairul Hafiz Jantan ran his season’s best time of 10.28 seconds to win heat three of the mens 100m preliminaries.
It was also the fastest time of all qualifiers in the six heats, ahead of defending champion Femi Seun Ogunode of Qatar in 10.29.
Lee Hup Wei easily claimed a place in the men’s high jump final after the 2007 Asian champion cleared the automatic qualification height of 2.10m.
Badrul Hisyam Manap advanced to the men’s 400m semi-finals after posting a personal best of 47.48 seconds to finish fourth in his preliminary heat and improve on his previous best by 0.12s.
Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli eased into the women’s 100m semi-finals after winning heat two of the preliminaries in 11.79 seconds, as did Siti Fatima Mohamad, the heat four winner in 11.88.