She’s done it!
Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli is officially Malaysia’s fastest female sprinter after she set a new national record for 100m at the ASA Speed Series meet in South Africa earlier today.
IT’S HER SECOND CRACK AT THE RECORD
The 24 year-old sprinter clocked in a time of 11.45 seconds, effectively beating G. Shanti’s time of 11.50 seconds, which was set way back in 1993. The time allowed her to finish second in the final race of Group B, behind University of Western Cape’s Tamzin Thomas.
— BERNAMA (@bernamadotcom) March 9, 2017
This comes after Zaidatul clocked 11.36 seconds to initially break the record at the USSA Varsity Sports meet last Saturday. But with the wind speed being 2.5 metres per second, her record was effectively nullified. For record purposes, the wind speed is required to be 2.0 metres per second or below.
IS SHE MALAYSIA’S NEXT BIG THING?
Zaidatul is slowly building a reputation for herself and these achievements will only help her cause. She received a wildcard entry to compete at the Rio Olympics in August 2016, after performing admirably to clock a season’s best time of 11.67 seconds at the XXVI Kosanov Memorial Championships in June.
The Penang-born athlete grew up being coached by her father, who was absolutely ecstatic when her daughter was given a slot in Rio. “I still cannot believe Husniah was picked to compete in the Olympics. It’s not easy for a Malaysian track athlete to impress and earn a wildcard. There is no competition bigger than the Olympics for a track athlete. As her father and former coach, I feel very proud,” he told New Straits Times
Ratu pecut negara, Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli akhiri cabaran 100m di Olimpik Rio, duduki tempat ke-8 pusingan pertama pic.twitter.com/G3TwQxcfWv
— Berita Harian (@bharianmy) August 13, 2016
While she struggled to make an impact at the Olympic Games – finishing last in her heat with a disappointing time of 12.62 seconds, Zaidatul has slowly bounced back since then. She’s currently on a two-month training stint in South Africa to prepare for the SEA Games in August and this new record will undoubtedly make her a favourite to win gold in Kuala Lumpur.
MALAYSIA’S NEW BATCH OF SPRINTERS
Besides Zaidatul, Malaysia seems to also have a couple of real gems in the men’s category, with Badrul Hisyam and Khairul Hafiz clocking in impressive 100m times over the last 12 months – something that even Datuk Salim Parlan, the team manager for Malaysia’s athletics contingent for the SEA Games, alluded to.
“I don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on our athletes by saying their are capable of winning gold, but I feel our sprinters have the potential to pull off an impossible feat. Right now, we’ve got a good batch of sprinters – be it male or female. Their performances in South Africa has also been very positive,” he was quoted as saying by Utusan.