ISIDROL del Prado couldn't be any happier with Ak Hafiy Tajuddin Pg Rositi's record-breaking run at the London Olympics.
Though the 21-year-old runner did not reach the semis of the 400m race, and he finished 45th in the field of 47 runners, it was still mission accomplished for Ak Hafiy after he set a new previous best of 48.67 seconds at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
His previous best was 49.23s which was clocked at the 2012 Taiwan Open Athletics Championships in May.
Though he did not set a new national record like 400m runner Maziah Mahusin and swimmer Anderson Lim Chee Wee (200m freestyle), national athletics coach del Prado believes Ak Hafiy deserves just as much credit.
"Like Maziah, Ak Hafiy's success was because of the hard work and commitment he put in during training," said del Prado in a press release sent by the country's chef de mission Hj Mohd Zamri DP Hj Hamdani yesterday.
"Ak Hafiy has shown determination by bettering his previous best during the past few events he has competed in; the World Indoor Championship in Istanbul in March, the Taiwan Athletic Open Championship in May and the 19th International Track & Field Championship in Vietnam in July and now the Olympics.
"It's a great achievement since he did it in front of tens of thousands spectators which was sure to put a lot of pressure on him especially since he was going up against world champions.
"But he has mental strength ... Though he was last, it didn't affect his spirit to keep running until the finish line," he added.
Del Prado also suggested that Ak Hafiy be helped to get a stable job which will allow him to keep training something that his parents have also pointed out.
"They want to see him succeed in both work and sports," said the coach.
In his closing comments Hj Mohd Zamri stated that the athletes who progressed to the semis of the 400m were in the 25-29 age-group bracket, and since Ak Hafiy will be 25 during the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil, it will be an ideal age for him to compete at the world's biggest stage again.
However, securing Ak Hafiy a suitable training programme and a job will be paramount for that to happen.
"Ak Hafiy is still young and has a bright future if he is continued to be supported by a high-performance training programme," said Hj Mohd Zamri.
"However, this dream will only be achieved if there is a specific training programme catered for him right away.
"Just like del Prado, the secretariats feel that the relevant parties need to take the initiative to help Ak Hafiy get a job."
The Brunei Times
Monday, August 6, 2012
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