QUALIFYING FOR PARIS OLYMPICS, MY NUMBER ONE PRIORITY -AZEEM

Muhammad Azeem Mohd Fahmi (File Photo)
09/03/2024 11:48 AM

KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 (Bernama) -- National sprint champion Muhammad Azeem Mohd Fahmi has made the Paris Olympics 2024 as his biggest target this year, to realise his dream of making a debut at the world's prestigious sports games.

The student of Auburn University in Alabama, United States (US), who created a sensation at the 2022 Under-20 World Athletics Championships in Cali, Colombia and the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games last year, said his desire is to continue bringing honours to the country.

"All I am asking is for all fans of my country to pray for me to qualify for the Olympics.

"That is my biggest target this year to continue to promote the country's name and place Malaysia's name on the world stage," said the 100 metre (m) men's bronze medalist at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, when contacted by Bernama.

The athlete, who will turn 20 next month, plans to start his mission for Paris 2024 scheduled in July, during Ramadan.

After making thorough preparations including participating in several indoor tournaments, he hopes there will be no obstacles to compete in the Yellow Jacket Invite open tournament at Georgia Tech, Atlanta on March 15 and 16.

The tournament is the first outdoor competition he will participate this year.

He said competing in the first week of Ramadan was his plan before only going through a training session to enable him to focus on fasting.

"Why me and the coach chose to compete in the first week of Ramadan is because I am confident that my body is still in the best condition even though I have started fasting for several days.

"Now I have about six to eight tournaments left for me to try to qualify for the Paris Olympics either through the merit of the world ranking or the standard qualifying mark of 10 seconds," said the athlete who hails from Teluk Intan, Perak.

Azeem's challenge at the tournament in Atlanta is to record a time under 10.20s which is not far off his season best of 10.11s last year and his national record of 10.09s set at the 2022 World Under-20 Athletics Championships.

For the record, Azeem finished fifth in the 100m final of the 2023 Asian Athletics Championships in Bangkok, Thailand with a record of 10.25s and advanced to the first round of the 100m World Athletics Championships 2023 in Budapest, Hungary.

Last month, Muhammad Azeem recorded 6.55s in the 60m event at an indoor championship at Clemson Indoor Track & Field Complex, South Carolina.

Former national record holder Watson Nyambek was the last national athlete to compete in the men's 100m event at the Olympics at the Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 editions while former Southeast Asian sprint king Nazmizan Muhammad was the last national representative to compete in the men's 200m event at the Athens 2004 edition.

-- BERNAMA