Amazing Grace shatters Sukma record in Perlis

Grace Wong and Faradillah Raznie posing with assistant chef de mission Dr Ong Kong Swee (third left) and (from left) coaches Thomas Ling Neng Thung, Rasia Lutang, team manager Dato Fong Onn Min, Sarawak Amateur Athletic Association secretary Leong Beng Keong and Mohd Jironi Reduan after the prize presentation at Tuanku Syed Putra Stadium yesterday.

KANGAR: Despite being the youngest in the field in the women’s hammer throw, Grace Wong Xiu Mei showed great composure to blow away the other eight competitors with her amazing record throw of 55.82m to clinch the gold medal at Tuanku Syed Putra Stadium yesterday.

The old Sukma record of 50.69m was set by Pahang’s Tan Song Hwa in 2008.

The 14-year-old student of SMK Tinggi Sarikei shocked everyone with that first attempt before recording 52.26m and 51.57m in her fourth and sixth throws. Her teammate and hot favourite Casier Renee Lee, also the defending champion, registered her best result of 54.36m to capture the silver medal. Third was Nurfazira from Selangor with a distance of 48.59m.

“I feel very excited and happy to win the gold and surprised even myself that I can beat Casier (Renee Lee) because I was nervous and thought I could only get the silver,” said Grace who was carrying a back injury.

“I was just trying to do my best and didn’t expect to win and break the Games record.”

Grace, who won the MSSM national schools title for the event in 50.66m last month, said she was just hoping to finish among the top three throwers.

After Sukma, Grace will be setting her sights at the national record of 58.71m also held by Tan Song Hwa in an international championship in Hungary in 2011.

Even Grace’s mentor and coach Thomas Ling Neng Thung was surprised with her performance yesterday.

“It is out of my expectations. Throwing to 55.82m is already beyond her capability,” he said.

Ling said all the hard work in training by Grace had paid off dividends and she could do even better in Sukma 2016 provided she maintains her physique and continues to train hard.

“Grace is really fantastic today. Her result of 55.82m is better than the SEA Games result of 54.98m won by a Thai athlete in Myanmar.”

Meanwhile, Sarawak’s second gold medal of the day came from Faradillah Raznie who won the women’s 800m in a time of 02:18.99.

Second and third were Nik Norzilawatie of Kelantan and Norhailizah Mungkit from Sabah who clocked 02:21.26 and 02:22.68 respectively.

“I would like to dedicate my gold to my mother Giah Ter in Spaoh, Betong because I have not seen her for six months. I was training under my idol and coach Jironi Reduan at Bandar Penawar Sports School in Johor all this while and I am very glad to have won the gold that I have targeted before the competition,” said Faradillah.

“This is also my pet event,” said the silver medallist in the women’s 800m and 1,500m in Pahang Sukma two years ago.

Apart from the two gold and one silver, Sarawak won two bronze medals through Celine Kong in the women’s javelin and Nur Aisyah Ahmat in the women’s 10,000m walk, thus bringing the athletics team’s medal haul to five golds, two silvers and four bronzes.

Team manager Dato Fong Onn Min was pleased with the collection of more medals yesterday.

“We have achieved our target of winning four or five golds in this Sukma and anything we win tomorrow on the final day of competition will be a bonus,” he said.

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