National sprinter Jonathan Nyepa garnered nationwide attention yesterday after he finished second at the 100m final at the Korea Open Athletics Championships in Jeongseon.
Jonathan, who was initially trained by sprinting legend Watson Nyambek, finished with a record time of 10.28 s, just behind Korea’s Kim Kok Young who clocked 10.07s to emerge champion.
Jonathan’s time of 10.28s makes him the second fastest sprinter in Malaysia.
Khairul Hafiz Jantan, who made history by breaking Watson Nyambek’s 18-year-old record of 10.30s, is Malaysia’s fastest sprinter with his record of 10.18s.
The 21-year-old is now shifting his focus to the biggest sporting event in Malaysia this year, the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.
After his impressive feat, Jonathan is hoping that the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) will select him for the 100m sprint event at the 2017 KL SEA Games.
“All Malaysian sprinters are working hard to be in the list for the individual events. Based on my time at the Korean Open Athletics Championship, I am in second place behind Khairul Hafiz.” Jonathan told Bernama upon returning from South Korea.
“I did not expect to record a time of below 10.30s. However, the success in Korea was not the peak. I want to reach the peak at the SEA Games.” Jonathan added.
Jonathan is targeting the 100m and 4x100m events at the 2017 KL SEA Games.
“Actually, I did not expect to record my best time at the championship. It was very competitive. The Korean Olympic athlete, Kim, qualified for the World Athletics Championship.”
Jonathan will be participating in a few other tournaments leading up to the SEA Games, including the Asian Track and Field (ATF) Championship in India.