Malaysian Race Walk Dominance Seems to be Over?

>> March 13, 2012

In race walking,  there is no doubt that Malaysian athletics has been the powerhouse in Southeast Asia, at least in the past five decades, but now the dominance seems at an end. Results of the Asian 20km Race Walking Championships 2012 recently at Nomi City, Japan really putting the fact and figure straight.

In the race, Malaysian and SEA Games gold medalist Lo Choon Sieng placed seventh in a time of 1:29:13s, nearly two minutes slower than his lifetime best 1:27:36s achieved at the same venue and meet in 2010. The race was won by China's Zhu Chondong (1:21:22). Vietnam's Nguyen Thanh Ngung, 21, finished ahead of Choon Sieng with a time of 1:27:57s (national record) and moving up to 4th position in SEA All-Time list, as below;

SOUTHEAST ASIA All-Time Men Lists as at March 13, 2012;
1:24:50 Narinder Singh Harbans MALAYSIA  Podebrady 19.04.97
1:27:36 Lo Choon Sieng MALAYSIA Nomi 14.03.10
1:27:47 Teoh Boon Lim MALAYSIA Kuala Lumpur 17.09.98
1:27:57 Nguyen Thanh Ngung VIETNAM Nomi 11.03.12
1:28:28 Govindasamy Saravanan MALAYSIA  Eisenhuttenstadt 11.05.96
1:29:11 Mohd Sharrulhaizy A.Rahman MALAYSIA Naumburg 02.05.04
1:29:40 Sakchai Samuthkao THAILAND Manila 22.09.03
1:29:43 Nyunt Win MYANMAR Rangoon 24.02.97
1:30:10 B.S. Thirukumaran MALAYSIA Kluang 12.09.97
1:30:10 Hendro INDONESIA Nomi 11.03.12

Meanwhile, a surprise that should not be surprising when the opposite category repeated the feat of men's category. Vietnamese Nguyen Thi Thanh Phuc has becomes the second ever Southeast Asian to crack the 1:40:00 barrier in women 20km walk, she clocked a time of 1:35:13s, renewing her national record by more than 4 minutes, and proudly she bagged home the bronze medal. But more interesting she surpassed the qualification standard of 2012 Olympic Games in London. Yuan Yufang of Malaysia remains the fastest of Southeast Asia with 1:32:25 (2003). Malaysian Norliana Mohd Rusni, who has a personal record of 1:47:38s, place in seventh in 1:48:46s.  Another Chinese walker, Ding Huiqin went to win the gold  in 1:30:14s.

Just a reflection... high level athletes should not wasting time to stay and train in a place that less favorable and encouraging in terms of  suitability in training ground, conditions, challengers and so on, like Southeast Asians. Should have moved away to other places (Europe, Japan, China?).  All in all it's all boil down to development, coaching, good management, and highly systematic short an long terms plannings, as well as "exposure" of real race walk meeting as mentioned in a previous article at Thestar on race walking.

Results of ASIAN 20km Race Walking Championships 2012, Nomi City JAPAN

1. Zhu Chundong CHN 1:21:22
2. Gurmeet Singh IND 1:21:31
3. Byun Young Jun KOR 1:21:42
4. Isamu Fujisawa JPN 1:21:43
5. Rahimian Ebrahim IRI 1:24:01
6. Nguyen Thanh Ngung VIE 1:27:57 (NATIONAL RECORD)
7. Lo Choon Sieng MAS 1:29:13
8. Hendro INA 1:30:10 (NATIONAL RECORD)
9. Sim Soon Chye Edmund SIN 1:36:01 (NATIONAL RECORD)
10. Zhu Bai-yu TPE 1:44:48

1. Ding Huiqin CHN 1:30:14
2. Rei Inoue JPN 1:34:06
3. Nguyen Thi Thanh Phuc VIE 1:35:13 (NATIONAL RECORD)
4. Deepmala Devi IND 1:42:01
5. Zhang Jia-feng TPE 1:45:32
6. Ching Siu Nga HKG 1:45:57
7. Norliana Mohd Rusni MAS 1:48:46
8. Seah Beng Choo Serene SIN 2:25:37

Full listing of Southeast Asian Annual Rankings, All-Time Rankings and Records are obtainable at handbook of "SOUTHEAST ASIA ATHLETICS ANNUAL 2011/12", click here

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