Thursday, December 16, 2010

2nd Asian Beach Games 2010, Muscat : Radial Open Laser

MUSCAT, Dec 13: Fisherman’s son, Muhamad Amirul Shafiq Md Jais was both elated and sad when he had to settle for the silver medal in the final Medal Race 10 in the Radial Open Laser event in the Muscat 2010 2nd Asian Beach Games at the Al Musannah Sport City today.

The 16-year-old Form Four student of SMK Kelibang, Langkawi, went into Race 9 this afternoon as the joint leader with Thailand’s Natthawut Paenyaem and needed to finish ahead of the Thai in the final two races today.

Amirul who hails from Kampong Pergi Acheh in Pasir Gudang in Johor where the sea has been life since five years-old when he followed his father out to the sea to catch fish, had indeed done extremely well here in Muscat as he had come with no targets, but just gain experience.

Only competing in his third international meet after having a bronze medal in his debut outing in the Asian Youth Games last year in Singapore and then competing in the Youth Olympics in Singapore too where he did not win anything, Shafiq who turned 16 on Oct 18, surprised many of the more senior and experienced sailors with his performance.

Today going out to the seas, Shafiq looked nervous and probably that affected his start for Race 9 when he was caught in the crowd and had a poor start trailing from 15th spot out of the 24 sailors.

But the determined Shafiq did well to catch up finish eighth, but with Natthawut Paenyaem finishing ahead in fourth spot, Shafiq had to finish first in the final Medal race.

Natthawut had different ideas and was in his element to finish first confirm the gold medal despite his teammate and favourite, Asian Games gold medallist Keerati Bualong, having fallen out of the race after two DNF (Did Not Finish).

The bronze medal was won by Pakistan’s Najeeb Ullaah Khan. Malaysia’s other sailior Harisfabillah Muhamat finished fifth.

“I am happy that I won a silver medal competing against more experienced and older sailors,” said Shafiq who is a product of the Sailing Academy in Langkawi where he is based.

“But I sad that with the gold medal so close at hand, I fumbled in the final two Races. I was a little nervous and the poor start in race 9 certainly did not help.

“However, overall I suppose I am happy because I was not even expected to win a medal here and was only here to gain experience.

“The experience and my performance here has certainly boosted my confidence and I intend use this achievement as a platform for better things in the future,” said Shafiq the eldest in a family of six.

Shafiq said that it is his target to win the Asian Games gold medal in Incheon in four years time.

Team Manager, LT Chin In said that Shafiq’s performance only underlines that Malaysia has potential young sailors who are Asian class.

“Shafiq is the youngster sailor here in the fleet of 24 and the small built too (5’2). But he has proven he has what it takes to excel,” said Chin.

Chef-de-Mission, Dato James Selvaraj, said Shafiq as a schoolboy has certainly done the nation proud with his achievement against a top Asian class field.

“Shafiq may have missed winning the gold medal, but his performance and winning the silver medal is still a golden performance considering his age and inexperience,” said James.

“He had indeed done the nation proud with his outstanding performance and was the talking point among the experienced sailors.”

This afternoon to witness Shafiq’s performance at the Al Mussanah Sports City was James and Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. M. Jegathesan, Deputy President of Olympic Council of Malaysian and also the Chairman of the Medical Commission of Olympic Council of Asia.

Radial Open Laser Results

Muhamad Amirul Shafiq Md Jais

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