Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Counting on upstarts

The Malaysian Weightlifting Federation is hoping the country’s young athletes will rise to the occasion and deliver the medals at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

MWF has set a conservative target of one gold this time, one less than in New Delhi four years ago, but deputy president Ahmad Janius Abdullah believes a winner could emerge from among the lesser known athletes in the squad.

“We are quite confident that Mohd Hafifi Mansor (69kg) can win one gold for us based on his track record over the past few years and the competition we expect to face in Scotland,” said Ahmad Janius.

“Constantine Clement’s (62kg) personal best has also put him in a strong position to win a gold medal if he can perform at the same level on the day.

“However, due to his lack of international experience, we are not putting any pressure on him to win it here.

“Mohd Azril Huzairi (69kg) and Azizah Fadzil (53kg) for the women also have realistic chances of
finishing on the podium but
what colour they can get is hard to say.”

Constantine, who turns 21 this year, and Azril Huzairi, 19, are both from the national backup squad.
Victory for Constantine in Glasgow will mean that the 62kg title stays with Malaysia as fellow Sabahan Aricco Jumitih had won it in New Delhi.

Mohd Hafifi, a bronze medallist at the last Games, should have the experience to deliver gold despite the weight of expectations on his shoulders.

Another highly experienced lifter in the squad is Faizal Baharom (56kg), a gold medallist in 2006, who unexpectedly qualified for the competition at the pre-Malaysia Games tournament after injury had appeared to end his career in recent years.

Faizal, 32, is an assistant coach with the national elite squad but has been allowed by the national body to put aside his coaching duties in Glasgow to fully concentrate on competing.

The squad, who have done most of their preparation for the Games in Bandung and Balikpapan in Indonesia, will leave for Scotland tomorrow.

 By Fadhli Ishak- |NST

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