Monday, January 30

Sarawak’s new teenage sprint prodigy

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KUCHING: Sprint star in the making, Joel Goh is set to be Sarawak’s next 100m and 200m champion of the near future.

ACHIEVEMENTS: (from left) Joel (3rd), Alex (2nd) together with Azyzy (1st) and Iskandarieah (4th) posed as Joel showed his winning medals and trophies.

ACHIEVEMENTS: (from left) Joel (3rd), Alex (2nd) together with Azyzy (1st) and Iskandarieah (4th) posed as Joel showed his winning medals and trophies.

After his gold-winning and record-breaking feats in a series of races, the 14-year-old is ambitious and has high hope of representing the state and the country in his pet events.

Joel has proven that he is so far one of the best under-14 100m athletes in the state when he won several races in a number of athletics meets.

Joel’s personal best in the century dash is 11.60sec and 24.10sec in the 200m.

The sprint prodigy recently won gold medal in the U14 Inter-division Sarawak School Sports Council (MSSM) athletics meet at the Sarawak Stadium here on March 16.

His best achievement was at the Sibu Open when he won the 100m event in 11.60sec, early this month.

Besides that, Joel settled for silver after a tight 100m race against a Nigerian athlete in the 2010 International School Track and Field event in Kuala Lumpur in February 2010.

Currently studying in Lodge school, Joel’s unique sprint ability was first discovered by his teacher Azyzy Ahmad and former state sprinter in the 90’s Iskandarieah Razali.

“The first time I spotted Joel’s talent was when I saw him playing football in school last year. His pace in the field during that time was different from the rest of the players. He has sprinting potential. That was when I first met Joel and I immediately approached him,” Azyzy said.

He had spoken to Joel about his talent and requested him to try out track events. And it has now changed Joel’s life for the better.

Iskandarieah who also realised Joel’s great potential and sprinting ability, did not hesitate to lend a helping hand and willingly shared his experience to the up and coming star.

“Joel is unique and different from young sprinters I have met so far. He has pure natural talent in which I believe one day he will become one of the best sprinters in the state,” said Iskandarieh.

“Being a personal trainer, I will make sure Joel is well taken care of in terms of health, fitness and at the same time keeping up with his progress from time to time,” he added.

“In Miri, there’s Ambrose Jilom, who is the current national junior sprint star. Here in Kuching we have 14-year-old Joel. All these while great sprinters are Mirians, but now we have one here in Kuching,” he said.

When asked on his aim for next year, Joel has set his target at 2011 Sarawak Open and his main goal is to break the 12-year-old under-15 100m record of 11.21sec set by former national junior sprinter Boniface Lejau.

“With full concentration and consistent, I am confident that I can break the championship’s record next year. But for now, I will not be taking part in any races. Both my coach and teacher asked me to rest and concentrate on the intensive training, and recovering from my hamstring problem which I incurred recently,” disclosed Joel.

Meanwhile, his father Alex Goh is giving his 100 per cent support to Joel’s ambition of racing for the state and the country.

“Joel will always have my support and I am hoping that he can fulfill his dream in becoming one of the best sprinters in Malaysia one day.

“I want to thank God for the talent which has been given to Joel and I will always be there for him whenever he needs me.

“He is a well-disciplined boy. I have nothing much to worry about Joel as he knows very well of what he is doing,” he said.

According to Alex, being a champion on the track, Joel is also one of the top scoring students in school. He is currently second in his class.

“This shows that any students can be good in both sports and academic studies. If Joel can do it, I am very sure others can as well. It can be done if you know how to manage your time and concentration,” he added.

Joel is currently under-going training at the Kuching South City Council (MBKS) Jubilee Ground, Padungan.

According to Iskandarieah, Joel will start his intensive training this month till January next year which will include weight training in the gym.

“All these while Joel has been doing his regular routine of two-hour training. This month, myself and Azyzy will conduct an intensive training for him till early next year.

“He will need to develop some parts of his muscle mass but not too heavy as he his still in a growing process. He will start his lightweight training in the gym very soon.

“Alex, Azyzy and myself are doing our best in developing Joel and guide him as far as we can.

“We are hoping to see the very first Kuching born Chinese 100m and 200m sprinter to don the state coulur in national events one day,” Iskandarieah said.