Tokyo 2020: Hopes on Hup Wei, Azreen to clear first round
TOKYO, July 29 -- As the track and field events get underway at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Friday (July 30), the Malaysian athletics camp is pinning hopes on high jumper Lee Hup Wei and sprinter Azreen Nabila Alias to at least clear their opening round obstacles.
Team manager S. Govindarajoo said with the level of competition at the Olympic Stadium the highest in the world, hopes are high on the Malaysian athletes to deliver their personal best in their respective events.
He said for high jumper Hup Wei, 34, who is making his third Olympics appearance after the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games, chances are high for him to clear the qualification round.
“Only the best 12 jumpers (out of 33) will qualify for the finals. High jump is a very technical event, anything can happen, especially with many athletes coming after lack of competitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ranked 24th in the world and finishing ninth in the 2019 World Championships, he might create a surprise and qualify for the finals,” he told Bernama when contacted.
Meanwhile, for Azreen Nabila, 21, who will be competing in the women’s preliminary round, she must finish in the top three to secure automatic qualification to the first round.
“She is very young and first time competing in the Olympics or any world level tournament, we hope she can make the cut into the first round. Both Hup Wei and Azreen have completed their daily light training on venue since Monday and are prepared for the competitions tomorrow,” he added.
Azreen Nabila, who has a personal best of 11.92 seconds, received a wild card ticket to compete in the Olympics.
The Women’s 100m Preliminary Round (Heat 2) is scheduled for 9.07 am local time (8.07 am Malaysian time), while the Group A Men's High Jump Qualification (Group A) is scheduled at 9.15 am local time (8.15 am Malaysian time).
On the global level, the retirement of the eight-time Olympic gold medallist and world’s most iconic sprinter, Usain Bolt of Jamaica, has somehow reduced the hype for track and field events.