Watson Nyambek, the Fastest Malaysian Sprinter

>> December 22, 2010

Watson Nyambek (source: unknown)
Watson Nyambek was a notable Malaysian sprinter and specialized in the 100 metres. He was born in Miri in 1976 and became known as "the Flying Dayak" as he set multiple national records in the century dash. He had represented the country in two Olympic Games, Atlanta 1996 (10.55s) and Sydney 2000 (10.61s).

In 1995, he broke the 29-year-old national 100m record by M. Jegathesan (set in 1966 Asiad) in Chinese Taipei in a time of 10.46s. He would continue to break his national record with the last one in the year was 10.38s clocking during the Malaysian national champs. The time would only be matched by his long time rival, Azmi Ibrahim, who has done it in 1996 in Jakarta.

In 1996, the co-national record holders were "set" to grab  the title "Malaysian's Fastest Man". It was like "Carl Lewis vs Ben Johnson" at the 1988 Olympics here in Malaysia with extensive coverage from all the local media. The race was finally set at Kuantan during the Malaysian Games. In the finals, Watson bursts out of his blocks, away from the field, hit the top speed in the halfway, maintains that high-velocity speed, and leaving Azmi (who usually had a fast ending) far away in second when he crosses the finish line. Watson registered NR a again with a time of 10.33s.

In 1997, he competed at the 6th World championships in Athens, and  later in SEA Games, where he was expected to win the century dash but ended up with taking home a bronze medal.

The 1998 was a golden year for Watson. He also broke the national 100m record three times (10.31s, 10.30s, 10.0h*). He won a silver medal from the Asian Track and Field (ATF) which was a major accomplishment by Malaysian athletics. This would made him a gold medal contender in the Asian Games in the following months.  In Asian Games, he won both heats (10.25w) and semifinal round (10.20w), but in the finals he stumbled in his first step out of his blocks and ended up finishing in 4th, clocking 10.32s. The wind-aided 10.20w from semifinals was the Southeast Asia's fastest time in any condition. A few weeks earlier at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Watson managed to advance to the quarterfinals at the century dash.
Watson Nyambek (source: unknown)

In 1999, he became the first Malaysian to enter semifinals at the World indoor championships. It was from the 60 metres race where he clocked a NR of 6.66s. He also took part in the 7th World outdoor championships at Seville at the year.

Retired in 2002 but came out in 2003. The comeback saw him winning a silver medal of 100m during the national championship. But it was Watson's last race and he never comeback into serious training in the next seasons.

Several years later, Watson became a sprint coach and based in Miri Sarawak, his hometown.

Personal bests:
100m- 10.30s Kuala Lumpur 1998 / 10.0h Hanoi 1998 / 10.20w Bangkok 1998
200m- 21.20s Kuala Lumpur 1995
60m- 6.66s Maebashi 1999
50m- 5.84s Eaubonne 1999

Best six (6) 100 metres:
10.30 - Kuala Lumpur (Pre-Comm / NC) 3.7.1998
10.31 - Kuantan (State Champs) 28.3.1998
10.32 - Bangkok (Asian Games)  14.12.1998
10.33 - Kuantan (Sukma) 7.6.1996
10.36 - Kuala Lumpur (Commonwealth Games)  16.09.98
10.36 - Almaty (National Championships)  27.5.2000

Watson's coaches:
Daniel St Hilaire (Quebec, Canada) - 1995 to 1997
Mumtaz Jaafar (Selangor) - 1998 to 2002
Sulaiman Arman (Sabah) - 2003 (preparation for National champs)


by Jad Adrian (Track & Field Statistician)

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