Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hup, hup and a-Wei

Mailsport carried this story on March 8, 2004. The first paper, I might add, that featured him as a news item.

NATIONAL No 1 high jumper Ahmad Najwan Aqra Hassaim was forced off the
pedestal by a younger rival yesterday.
Remember this name - Lee Hup Wei. He is unofficially the new No 1 high
jumper in the country.
The 17-year old boy from Sepang cleared 2.11m in the FTAAA over/under
distance meet at Bukit Jalil, a height yet to be attained by Ahmad Najwan.
Ahmad Najwan, the SEA Games silver medallist who is bound for a four-
month training stint in Texas later this month, could only manage 2.05m to
finish second.
While Ahmad Najwan blamed his weight for his below-par performance, Hup
Wei was happy to beat the erstwhile numero uno since Loo Kum Zee's
retirement following the Vietnam SEA Games recently.
Only recently recruited into the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), Hup
Wei took up the event seven years ago.
"I chose this event because people who excel in it are few and far
between. I felt I could make an impact and stamp my own mark in this
event," said the Form 4 student.
Formerly attached to SMK Dengkil, Hup Wei's previous best was 2.04m en
route to winning the gold medal in the Asean Schools meet in Jakarta last
Coached by Alim Ahmedjanov, who is also charting Ahmad Najwan's
progress, Hup Wei will certainly figure in the Malaysian Amateur Athletics
Union's MAAU plans in forming a decent contingent for the Asian Junior
Championships in Ipoh in May.
Ahmad Najwan, meanwhile, said a difference of two kilogrammes in his
weight contributed to his surprise defeat.
"I am not offering any excuses but as my body weight had increased by
three kilogrammes to 67kg. it affected my jump.
"But I aim to bounce back. This defeat is a wake-up call for me," said
the 19-year old from Terengganu, whose personal best stands at 2.10m.
Ahmedjanov was satisfied with Hup Wei's win, insisting that his
emergence will provide a healthy rivalry to Ahmad Najwan.
"With Hup Wei having cleared 2.11m, Ahmad Najwan cannot rest on his
laurels," said the coach, who hails from Uzbekistan.

Today I'm happy that Hup Wei (pix) has qualified for the Beijing Olympics. And he is the new national record holder, shattering my good friend Loo Kum Zee's 2.24m set in Chiangmai SEA Games in 1995.

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