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Hakeem Breaks Singapore’s Oldest Track Record
  • December 18th, 2008

Abdul Hakeem bin Abdul Halim

We’ve a new guest writer on-board and would like to be known by pseudonym “SingaporeSportsFan”. From the author’s blog profile, the Singapore Sports Fan is a 30-something year old long-time observer and fan of the local sports scene. Do visit SingaporeSportsFan blog at singaporesportsfan.wordpress.com

This tiny report appeared in today’s edition of TODAY (17 Dec 2008) amid all the buzz that’s been generated over Singapore’s Suzuki Cup semi-final clash with Vietnam.

I’m reproducing it here for the benefit of those who may have missed it:

Hakeem breaks oldest national track record

By Tan Yo-Hinn

SINGAPORE’S oldest national record in athletics has finally fallen.

Last night, hurdler Abdul Hakeem Abdul Halim re-wrote the 110m hurdles record when he clocked 14.45sec to clinch silver at the 14th Asean University Games (Dec 10-21) at the Bukit Jalil Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 21-year-old shaved 0.31s off the previous mark of 14.76s, set 42 years ago by Osman Merican at the 1966 Asian Games in Bangkok.

The race was won by Malaysia’s Robani Hassan (14.07), with Thailand’s Suriya Judasri taking the bronze (14.55).

Hakeem’s previous personal best was 14.77s set last year.

The 1.83 metre-tall 2004 Commonwealth Youth Games bronze medallist could feature at next year’s SEA Games in Vientiane, Laos. He still has some way to go to catch up with Malaysia’s Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian, who won the 110m hurdles at last year’s SEA Games in Korat, Thailand in a new Games record of 13.91s.

My thoughts:

My heartiest congratulations to Hakeem for breaking Singapore’s oldest track record.

I seriously can’t believe it’s been 42 years since Osman Merican first set the men’s 110m hurdles record – nor the fact that almost HALF A CENTURY had to pass before it was ever eclipsed.

But it was also good of the reporter – Tan Yo-Hinn – to put the achievement in context.

Hakeem may have brought the number of new national open and junior records that have been set this year to 19, and he may have brought the curtains down on what has been a pretty good year for Singapore athletics.

But the fact remains that his time was 0.38sec slower than eventual winner Robani Hassan of Malaysia.

Hakeem’s time is also about 0.56sec off the 13.91sec set by Malaysia’s Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian when he won the SEA Games gold last year. Incidentally, that time is a new Games record.

So the facts are clear for all to see: while we rejoice at seeing new levels of excellence being set in Singapore athletics, our new standards – with the exception of Stefan Tseng in the triple jump – are not gold-winning material even at SEA Games level.

My hope is that this new breakthrough will spur Hakeem on to greater heights (or times) in 2009. And I do hope to see him finishing among the medals at next year’s SEA Games.

After all, it will be a real treat to see a local talent winning something on the track for once instead of us always having to rely on foreign recruits to win medals in the throws, as has been the case these past few years.

To end, here’s the list of national open and junior records that have been broken so far this year, based on my research. I don’t claim that the list is comprehensive so if you think I may have missed out on any marks, please let me know and I will duly make the corrections.

National Open Records – 7

1. Men’s Triple Jump – 15.71m by Stefan Tseng*

2. Men’s Triple Jump – 15.78m by Stefan Tseng*

3. Men’s Long Jump – 7.41m by Kenneth Wang Kan

4. Men’s Long Jump – 7.45m by Calvin Cheng

5. Men’s 110m Hurdles – 14.45sec by Abdul Hakeem Abdul Halim

6. Women’s Pole Vault – 3.60m by Rachel Yang

7. Women’s Triple Jump – 11.66m by Mariam Shazana*

National Junior Records – 12

1. Men’s Triple Jump – 15.71m by Stefan Tseng*

2. Men’s Triple Jump – 15.78m by Stefan Tseng*

3. Men’s Long Jump – 7.22m by Matthew Goh

4. Men’s Long Jump – 7.23m by Matthew Goh

5. Men’s Long Jump – 7.45m by Calvin Cheng

6. Men’s Javelin – 53.70m by Akid Chong

7. Men’s Javelin – 54.14m by Koh Thong En

8. Men’s 100m – 10.53sec by Calvin Kang

9. Men’s Discus (1.75kg) – 49.60m by Scott Wong

10. Men’s Shot Put (6kg) – 14.88m by Scott Wong

11. Women’s Triple Jump – 11.66m by Mariam Shazana*

12. Women’s 100m – 12.23sec by Balpreet Kaur

Note: Stefan and Mariam also broke the national and national junior records (15.71m and 11.63m respectively) at the British Age-Group Indoor Championships in February. But those marks are not recognised by the SAA as they occured indoors. If they had been, then we would be looking at a total of 8 new national open marks and 12 new national junior marks so far this year.

Yours in Sport
Singapore Sports Fan

This article can also be found here

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