National athletics coach Mohd Manshahar Abdul Jalil believes sprinter Khairul Hafiz Jantan is inching closer towards his old form.
The 21-year-old Khairul has been plagued by several niggling injuries, including a recent hamstring problem in August, which cost him the spot in the 100m event at the Philippines SEA Games.
With Khairul out of the event, teammate Mohd Haiqal Hanafi was crowned the fastest man in South-East Asia.
Khairul did get a silver for the country in the 4x100m event along with Haiqal, Nixson Kennedy and Russell Alexander Nasir Taib.
“He can bounce back. What is important is that he needs to keep his motivation… Khairul is actually showing improvement now. He’s slowly getting his form back, ” said Manshahar.
Khairul’s coach Mohd Poad Mohd Kassim has requested that his athlete be allowed to compete at the Dahe Fajr Indoor Championship in Iran from Jan 9-10 in what is expected to be the beginning of his return to full form.
“We have agreed to let him compete in the event. We believe this will be a good start for him, ” added Manshahar.
Besides Khairul, the Malaysian Athletic Federation will also be sending Luqmanul Hakim Khairul Akmal (400m), Andre Anura Anuar (triple jump), Norliyana Kamaruddin (pentathlon) and Luqman Hakim Ramlan (long jump) to Iran.
Manshahar also said the national athletes would also compete in the Asian Indoor Championships in Hang-zhou, China, from Feb 12-13.
The tournament in China will see eight national athletes taking part.
Mohd Haiqal will compete in the 60m sprint while Nauraj Singh Randhawa and Lee Hup Wei will be in the high jump.
Mohd Hakimi Ismail will take part in the triple jump, Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian (60m hurdles), Andre Anura (long jump), Yap Sean Yee (high jump) and Norliyana (pentathlon).