VAULTER VAULTER

ATHLETICS: Iskandar wants to soar

HIGHER: National pole vault record holder targets setting a new mark at the ATF

The 19-year-old Iskandar will be making his ATF debut and is one of several young talented athletes emerging from the ashes of the Malaysian Athletic Federation’s previous disastrous regime.

ISKANDAR Alwi knows that to win a medal at the Asian Track and Field Championships today is wishful thinking and will instead attempt to rewrite the national pole vault record he broke earlier this year.

Along with discus thrower Irfan Shamsuddin and high jumper Yap Sean Yee, Iskandar is one of three teenagers to have broken or equalled a national record this year.

And the athlete from Johor does not intend to rest on his laurels as he attempts to make an impression when the competition begins at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune, India.

Iskandar is ranked ninth of 14 vaulters on the entry list, which is led by China’s Xue Changrui with a season’s best of 5.65m.

“The standard of the competition is very high and I will be one of the few to start at a lower entry of around 4.60m,” said Iskandar, whose national record is 5.01m, ahead of the seven-member squad’s departure on Sunday.

“I just have to focus on my own performance and not worry about the others.

“I will take it step by step and hope to break the national record.”

Iskandar is adjusting to new poles, which are longer than the one he used to set the new national record at the FTKLAA All-Comers meet in March.

“When switching to longer poles, it involves several changes to my technique.

“I have to add a few more steps to my run up and I also have to allow for more space to ground the pole into position and make the vault.

“It’s working well so far and I came close to breaking the record at the Johor Open (last month) but could not clear 5.05m.”

The three other athletes in action today are Anchois Aron in the men’s 400m heats and S. Komalam Shally and Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli in the women’s 100m heats, who are also also making their ATF debut.

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