KUALA LUMPUR: National high jump athlete, Lee Hup Wei’s dream of competing at the 2019 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Athletics Championships will be fulfilled as the Malaysia Athletics Federation (MAF) has selected him to receive the wild card ticket to the competition.
The decision was announced by MAF deputy president Mumtaz Jaafar today, which also answered the question of who would be the country’s sole representative at the prestigious tournament to be held in Doha, Qatar, from Sept 28 to Oct 6.
“We have created a fair selection process for all athletes and they understand where they stand. Discussions among coaches have indicated that Hup Wei is the best athlete for Doha, based on some of the criteria set by the IAAF,” she said.
Mumtaz said that MAF hoped the 32-year-old would use the tournament to improve his performance to the next level ahead of the Philippines SEA Games in November.
Malaysia can only send one wild card athlete to the Doha tournament since no national athlete has qualified on merit.
The high jump event merit qualifying mark was 2.30 metres (m), with Hup Wei’s personal best this season at 2.27m, while national record holder (2.30m), Nauraj Singh Randhawa’s personal best was 2.26m.
According to the IAAF world rankings for men’s high jump, Hup Wei stood in 21st place with 1,210 points and Nauraj in 49th place with 1,155 points.
Meanwhile, national athletics head coach, Mohd Manshahar Abd Jalil said among the criteria for selection to Doha were the scoring table and world rankings.
“Firstly, based on the international scoring table, Hup Wei is ranked higher than Jonathan Nyepa (sprinter) who is in 318th place (1,082 points).
“If the international athletes do not meet the 32-spot quota to qualify on merit, then the unqualified athletes will be selected through the world rankings. So, he (Hup Wei) is in the best position to go to Doha and we have emailed the matter to the IAAF,” he said.
For the record, Hup Wei won the gold medal at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championship and is also a three-time SEA Games gold medallist.