Category Archives: Rayzamshah Wan Sofian

Malaysian Sprint Hurdling

I’ve always been an admirer of Malaysian hurdling. From Nur Herman Majid, Hassan Robani, Moh Siew Wei and Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian, Malaysians have figured consistently amongst Southeast Asia’s elite sprint hurdlers. For a Filipino hurdler, their combined hurdling curricula is awe-inspiring. Hence. I’ve often wondered about the secret to success of our Southeast Asian neighbors.

Perhaps the Men’s 4x100m relay holds the answer.

Read Jad Adrian’s article on the 4x100m relay here

The Indonesian dug deep in the last 50m of the final leg, overcoming a sizable lead by Singapore to wrest the gold. Tasting victory, the Indonesian dove like Greg Louganis to win the race by one-hundredth of a second.

The Malaysian anchor hurdling his Indonesian counterpart (Video grab from Singapore Athletics)

While watching the highly-entertaining, closely fought race, the sight of the Malaysian anchor man hurdling the fallen Indonesian last runner brought forth expressions of awe! A collision between sprinters would surely have dire consequences. Thanks to the Malaysian’s quick reaction – and suave, impromptu hurdling – disaster was averted.

This is what you call SPRINT HURDLING!

Video credit:

Unso Smashes Philippine 110m High Hurdles Record

Patrick Unso ran a lifetime’s best of 14.58s to finally better Alonzo Jardin’s 14.75s Philippine record. Unso, the youngest son of Renato Sr.(the current 400m LH record holder and the former 110mHH record holder), wound up sixth in a quality field composed of former SEA Games champions Hassan Robani (MAS), Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian (MAS) and Jamras Rittedet (THA).

Read: “Alonzo Jardin: The Hurdling Artist” here

View the complete results

The fast-finishing Rittedet, the 2009 SEA Games champion, was too classy for Rayzam (13.86s), the surprise 2007 champion. The Thai was half a stride ahead of the Malaysian, stopping the clock at a new games record of 13.77s. Robani (14.14s)  had to dig deep to edge out Vietnam’s Nguyen Ngoc Quang (14.19s) for the bronze.

The 19-year old Unso, still a junior under IAAF rules, was the youngest amongst the top six. As such, the newly-minted Philippine senior record holder is also the junior record holder, over the official 1.067m high barriers. Those who finished ahead of the Filipino are all grizzled veterans. The troika of Robani, Rayzam and Rittedet – the region’s best 110m high hurdlers – all have major championship experience. Pach, in contrast, is on his first ever SEA Games.

Read Jad Adrian’s account of the 110m high hurdles final here

With all due respect to Jardin, it was about time someone broke 14.75s. For far too long, the local hurdling scene has been left in the dustbins of insignificance. Pach Unso’s sixth place finish, while light-years away from a SEA Games podium finish and the Olympic “B” standard, augurs well for Philippine sprint hurdling. Perhaps the young Unso is the spearhead of the new generation of faster, more competitive Filipino sprint hurdlers.

Once Pach’s record is officially ratified, father and son will have their names engraved as reigning senior Philippine record holders for the low hurdles and the high hurdles, respectively. The young Unso also holds the 110m high hurdles (0.99m) national junior record.

*Special thanks to Jad Adrian Washif and Andrew Pirie for the timely updates.

19th Asian Athletics Championships Rundown

The Asian championships were held in the Japanese city of Kobe from 8-11 July 2011. This is the region’s most prestigious competition, a good warm-up for the Daegu World Championships in August. The big guns of Asian athletics took center stage, despite the absence of a few. Japan (11-10-11), according to an IAAF report, topped the medal standings for the first time since 1981, edging out powerhouse China (10-12-5).

Liu Xiang 刘翔, as expected, lorded it over the sprint hurdles field, setting a new championship record of 13.22s. Shi Dong Peng 史冬鹏 (13.56s) was a far second as he overtook South Korean veteran Park Tae-Kyong 박태경 (13.66s). Thailand’s Chamras Rittedet was the fastest Southeast Asian as he went under the thirteen second barrier (13.96s). Malaysia’s Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian ran 14.03s.

Mutaz Essa Barshim‘s 2.35m winning mark in the high jump was, without a doubt, the highlight of the meet. The reigning World Junior Champion tied the second best mark in 2011, en route to setting his nth Qatari record. Barshim, at merely 20 years of age, is a potential medalist in Daegu – should he overcome the nerves of high-level senior competition.

Read Jad Adrian’s posts on the Kobe Asian Champs here

Read Pinoymiler’s post here

The Philippine delegation came home empty-handed, as defending long jump champion Marestella Torres missed out on a podium finish. The Filipino record holder could only managed a best leap of 6.34m in the fourth round, way off her 6.51m winning jump in Guangzhou two years ago. Torres has a season’s best of 6.38m, set in Bacolod during the PNG. Rene Herrera clocked 9:12.34 in the 3,000m steeplechase, good enough for eighth place in a race dominated by naturalized Africans. Arniel Ferrera, meanwhile, narrowly missed the sixty-meter mark in the hammer throw (59.25m), placing ninth in a field of eleven. Ferrera set a season’s best in Kobe. Heptathlete Narcisa Atienza scored 5,041 points and ranked seventh.

As expected, Japan’s 2009 World Championship bronze medalist Yukifumi Murakami 村上 幸史 dominated the javelin throw his 83.27m fourth round flick. Murakami’s third round throw of 80.93m was also better than Jae-Myoung Park’s 80.19m.

Host country Japan stamped its class on every single relay event. The winning margins were quite massive. The Japanese men won by a straightforward eight-hundredths of second in the 4x100m relay over the Hong Kong squad, which surprisingly beat regional powers China and the slick-passing Thais.

On the distaff side, Japan was even more dominant. Anchored by 200m gold medalist Chisato Fukushima 福島 千里, the Japanese women led by a comfortable 0.18s over the Chinese.

In a high quality men’s long jump competition, four men went beyond eight meters. Su Xiongfeng won gold with his 8.19m leap second round leap. The 2009 World Youth Champion, Suphanara Sukhasvasti, clinched second with 8.05m. According to Jad Adrian, this is the best ever jump by a Southeast Asian.

Despite the absence of 2010 World Indoor Champion Olga Rypakova, Xie Limei 谢荔梅 entertained the Japanese crowd with her world-class 14.54m mark in the women’s triple jump. Uzbekistan’s Valeriya Kanatova (14.14m) placed second as India’s Mayookha Johny മയൂഖ ജോണി won bronze en route to setting a 14.11m Indian record.

Additional links:

IAAF article (Day 1)

IAAF article (Day 2)

IAAF article (Day 3)

IAAF article (Day 4)

Full results from the JAAF


Aoshin0507’s Youtube account

Competing against a Sub-14 Sprint Hurdler

Prior to the Philippine National Games, the fastest sprint hurdlers I’ve competed against were national record holder Alonzo Jardin (14.75s), UAAP record holder Orlando Soriano (14.96s); my teammate, three-time UAAP 110m high hurdles champion, Michael Mendoza (14.97s); and Robin Tuliao (14.98s)*. In terms of hand-timing, Mike (14.6) and Soriano (14.8) are on top of the list.

Talking with Coach Ceril Yap of Kota Kinabalu, I was excited to find out that Malaysia’s top hurdler, Rayzamshah Wan Sofian, was set to compete in Bacolod. Rayzam, then 18-years old, came from nowhere to snare the SEA Games sprint hurdles crown four years ago in Thailand, stopping the clock in 13.91s. With Tuliao, Jose Unso and Emman delos Angeles also in the field, my comeback race was relatively well-stocked with local hurdling talents.

During the warm-up, I tried not to observe Rayzam’s routine, as I focused on preparing for my first race in three years. Nevertheless, I was awestruck at his pinpoint hurdling clearance. His lead leg skims the hurdle. The Malaysian champion’s trail leg was just as snappy as it cuts over the barrier. Being a sub-10 100m dash sprinter, Rayzam possesses blistering speed in between barriers.

View my account of the PNG 110m high hurdle race here

Read my PNG wrap-up here

For my warm-up, I placed two hurdles at the far side of the track. Soon enough, all the hurdlers were sharing the barriers that I set up. Rayzam, apparently uncomfortable at running at the eighth lane, politely asked if he could move the hurdles to the adjacent lane. All throughout his warm-up routine, the Malaysian was a picture of calmness. He seemed quite at ease even with the alien surroundings, in light of the depth of his international experience.  The entire hurdling motion – from sprint to hurdling clearance – appeared easy for the guy.

He went on to win the race by a massive 0.7s over Robin (14.8). We talked a bit at the finish line. I found it amusing that he was in the Philippines for a holiday! He had quite a lot of anecdotes to share, from competing against the likes of Liu Xiang to his training regimen in Malaysia. For someone who has reached the pinnacle of regional competition, Rayzam was certainly laid back.

In jest, I thanked the guy for coming over to the Philippines and raising the level of play. Even if he considered his 14.1s time unremarkable, for us Filipino hurdlers, running so close to the thirteen second barrier was a surreal thought!

*- I only ran against Jardin twice, when he had shifted to the decathlon and was a shadow of his old hurdling self. I was sidelined by a broken arm when Soriano set the aforesaid UAAP record. When Mike went below 15-seconds, I was watching from the sidelines as a college alumnus, having used up all my five playing years. Tuliao set his PB at the Thailand Open a month ago.

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