KUCHING (Sept 23): Luciana Urai Simon’s dogged determination in the gruelling heptathlon fueled Sarawak’s golden Day 4 of the MSSM Athletics Championships at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
The state student athletes grabbed six gold medals yesterday to enable Sarawak to stay in contention for the overall title. The seven events of the heptathlon (Girl’s Open) was spread over two days.
17-year-old Luciana battled fatigue to complete the feat by finishing first in an incredible six of the seven events: 100m hurdles (15.85s), high jump (1.40m), shot put (7.94m), 200m (27.0s), long jump (4.70m), javelin (5th in 19.65m), 800m (2:54.04s). She amassed a total of 3,529 points to comfortably beat Pahang’s Julia Lee (3,168) and Selangor’s Cha Zhi Yi (3,031) to the top of the medal podium.
The second last day of the MSSM Meet also saw the rise of a middle distance star in Sarawak’s Thaneraj Pillay. He collected his second gold medal of the championships by winning the U15 1,500m in a time of 4:25.31s. He had won the 800m (2:10.06s) on Day 2.
Stevensie Win Simon, who won a silver in the Boy’s U18 110m hurdles (13.95s) on Day 2, improved to also collect a second medal – this time a gold – in the 400m hurdles with a time of 54.46s yesterday.
Sarawak celebrated another hurdles victory when Natalia Abby Uding clocked 29.30s to finish first in the Girl’s U15 200m hurdles.
The fifth gold medal was won by Pauline Ului in the Girl’s U15 discus. Pauline, who is from SMK K9 Long Bedian in Baram, recorded a winning distance of 31.36m.
Wong Yew In hurled the hammer to a distance of 56.89m to not only win the gold medal but also added a page of history. The SMK Tong Hua student in Bintangor is the latest in the long unbroken line of Sarawak throwers to have won the men’s open event stretching back to 2009. Lu Teck Yi recorded a throw of 52.49m to make it a 1-2 finish for Sarawak.
The 5-day 62nd MSSM National Championships ends today. Sabah is leading the overall medal tally at the end of Day 4. Johor (13 gold), Sarawak (12) and Selangor (10) are in hot pursuit of the overall title.