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KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 -- National athletics squad head coach Mohd Manshahar Abdul Jalil says Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) technical director Dwayne Miller should not be blamed over the decision of national 100 metre (m) sprinters Khairul Hafiz Jantan dan Muhammad Haiqal Hanafi to resume training under Mohd Poad Md Kassim.
He said it was also unfair to say Miller did not play a role in helping both athletes rediscover their best form.
In fact, Mohd Manshahar said the spread of COVID-19 in the country had negatively affected the period the national sprinters spent under Miller’s stewardship.
He explained that there were no arguments or issues between both SEA Games 100m gold medalists with Miller which led to their decision to return to Mohd Poad.
“The athletes themselves are the ones who decided on their career path, it’s their right to make the decision, and I feel that right has been given to them,” he told Bernama today.
“No problems occurred throughout their training here (with Miller), and there were no complaints from both of them. Perhaps they were not able to achieve compatibility in such a short time,” he added.
Last year, the MAF made the decision to place Khairul Hafiz and Muhammad Haiqal along with others in the national sprint squad under Miller’s guidance at the National Sports Council in Bukit Jalil.
Meanwhile, Mohd Manshahar expressed hope that both sprinters would make full use of the opportunity given to them to continue to dominate in the blue ribbon event at the 2021 SEA Games in Vietnam at the end of this year.
He was optimistic that Mohd Poad had the necessary programmes and training plans in place to bring both athletes back up to speed.
“Poad himself has proven that both these athletes are the best he ever developed in 2017 and 2019, so to me it’s not a problem for him (Mohd Poad) to help improve their performance,” he added.
Khairul Hafiz, who holds the national record with 10.18 seconds, is the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games 100 m sprint gold medalist, while Muhammad Haiqal triumphed during the 2019 edition in the Philippines.