ATHLETICS: London her only agenda

ROSLINDA Samsu’s coach believes the pole vaulter will qualify for the London Olympic now that she is close to completing her university studies.

Mansahar Jalil sought to allay concern over his charge’s poor performances this season which has seen Roslinda struggle to clear 4.00m in any competition.

Roslinda, who won Sea Games gold last November with a 4.20m clearance, needs to match her national record of 4.40m before July 8 to qualify for London and Mansahar said the 29-year-old is capable of doing so.

“It has not been easy for her to juggle her studies with training and competition. Quite often she has to rush to training straight after class and it becomes quite hectic for her but she is trying her best.

“I sympathise with her situation because she has spent seven years trying to finish her studies but she has not been able to because of training and competition.

“But the good thing is she is almost finished with her studies and from next month she can focus solely on pole vault and try to make it to London,” said Mansahar.

Roslinda has only had two international outings, in Taiwan in March when she registered clearances of 3.91m and 3.96m indoors while on the local front, she managed 3.80 at the FT All-Comers meet.

A packed programme of competitions, however, awaits the 2008 Beijing Olympian when she leaves for Europe on May 18.

“We will be going to Germany and will be based in Leipzig. From there we will travel around Europe for around four to five competitions and I hope it will be enough for her to qualify for the Olympics.

“She needs to do 4.40, which is her personal best. Can she do it? I have to make her qualify, she has to,” added Mansahar, who returned as Roslinda’s full-time coach after Beijing, having initially guided her during her teenage years.

Roslinda will not be the only one trying to qualify for London as she will be joined in Europe by hurdler Noraseela Khalid and high jumper Lee Hup Wei while walker Lo Choon Sieng will compete at the IAAF Race Walking Cup in Saransk, Russia on May 12-13.

Hup Wei, who qualified for the last Olympics, is also down for three legs of the Asian Grand Prix series in Thailand on May 8, 11 and 14 together with hurdler Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian, who will also compete at the Taiwan Open on May 25-26.

Should no Malaysian meet the Olympic qualifying standard, Malaysian Athletic Union president Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said two wild cards will be offered to Malaysia, but only in track events.

“If the worse happens, we will get two wild cards. It’s too soon to say who will get it. Let them try to qualify first,” he said at a recent function in Bukit Jalil.

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