Malaysia is a nation of hurdlers. Underlining this claim is the list of hurdlers produced over the decades - Karu Selvaratnam, Ishtiaq Mobarak, Zulkifli Yatim, Hanapiah Nasir, Nur Herman Majid, Faiz Muhammad, Hassan Ayob, Badrulhisham Jamaluddin, Hamdi Jaafar, Robani and Rayzam Shah Sofian. In the women's section, who could forget Marina Chin in her heyday in the 70s, Moh Siew Wei and of course Noraseela in the 90s. I'm not too sure if this proud tradition will continue, not at the rate things are going.
Ithnin is bound for West London's Brunel University, which is one of four UK Athletics High Performance Centres (HiPACs), to pursue his Masters degree. HiPACs bring together sports medics, sports scientists, coaches and performance management staff under one roof to ensure the athletes have access to all the support and expertise they need on one site. Perhaps once he comes back, Ithnin can share with the Malaysian authorities on how to work together for the greater benefit of all.
Ithnin's highest accolade as a hurdler was a medal in the Asean Inter-University Games in 1992. Four years earlier he was chosen as Johor's Most Promising Sportsman in1988 for winning the Asean Schools meet.
His male siblings were all named after the day they were born, with Khamis leading the way, followed by Jumaat, Thalatha, Rabu, Ithnin and Sabtu. The sons of Mahadi Daud from Parit Limbong, Muar, were known for their prowess in the highly technical event.
Thalatha had a few words of wisdom to share with Robani and Noraseela, who felt they were given hurdles to overcome in their bid to qualify for the recently concluded Beijing Olympics.
The hurdles, I can tell you, come in the form of mortals running the national body, the Malaysian Athletics Amateur Union (MAAU). That's why former National Sports Council official Rasu Maniam used to joke the MAAU abbreviation stands for Many Are Against U!