Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Injured Azzam banking on past records for selection to New Delhi

PETALING JAYA: There is a one-day selection trial to decide on the men’s artistic gymnastics team for the Commonwealth Games but Mohd Azzam Azmi is hoping that he would get to feature for Malaysia for the first time based on his past record.

The 23-year-old is recovering from a neck fracture and will not be able to take part in the trial at the Gymnasium II in Bukit Jalil on July 31.

The Malaysian Gymnastics Federation (MGF) will decide on a five-man team for the Games in New Delhi in October and among those in contentition for places are Lum Wan Foong, Mohd Shahril Johari, Mohd Azlanshah Ismail, Hairi Zaid, Mohd Hamzahruddin Nordin, Mohd Irwan Miskob and Onn Kwong Tung.
Based on the latest national ranking, Azzam is ranked second behind Wan Foong.

Azzam, who took up the sport when he was five-years-old, said that it was his dream to feature in the Commonwealth Games at least once in his career.

“It is unfortunate that I had fractured my neck during Sukma (Malaysia Games) in Malacca last month when performing the parallel bars routine,” he said.

“The doctors said that I would need six weeks to get back to top form. I am doing better everyday.”
Azzam’s most prominent results in his career is winning a gold medal in the 2005 Manila SEA Games. He was in the same team with Ng Shu Wai.

“Unfortunately, the selection day is July 31 and I do not want to risk aggravating the injury,’ he said.
“I will produce my medical certificate and hope that my previous record will be good enough to get me a place in the team.

“I have been in the national team for 10 years and I may not get any other chance if I miss this one. I am thinking of retiring either this year or next year after the SEA Games. My favourite events are the floor exercise and parallel bars. If I get in, I will do my best in these events.”

Azzam is a member of the elite squad together with Wan Foong, Shahril and Azlanshah. Hairi and Hamzahruddin are back-up gymnasts hoping to get their biggest break while Irwan and Kwong Tung are former national gymnasts hoping to make comebacks.

The MGF secretary, N. Shanmugarajah, said that the selection committee would take into consideration past results.

“The one-day selection is important but we will also look into their results in local or international championships. It all depends on the coaches’ recommendations. We will choose the best five to represent the country,” he said.

The MGF have named their five-woman team for artistic gymnasts – Cheong See Teng, Tracie Ang, Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, Noor Hasleen Fatihin Hasnan and Chan Sau Wah. And their duo for rhythmic gymnastics are Elaine Koon and Nur Hidayah Abdul Hamid.


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