High jumper Hup Wei eyeing finals at Tokyo 2020

By R. Vikneswaran


KUALA LUMPUR: Making his third appearance at the Olympics, national high jumper Lee Hup Wei aims to set history as the country’s first track and field Olympian to make it into an athletics event finals.
Based on the Rio 2016 results, the 34-year-old will have to jump in the range of 2.26m and above in the qualifying round, to secure his spot in the finals.
At the 2016 Games, fellow high jumper Nauraj Singh Randhawa together with eight other high jumpers narrowly missed the chance to emerge among the top 15 finalists, despite leaps of 2.26m as they didn’t clear the mark in their first attempt.
Hup Wei, who will be ending his mandatory quarantine at the Kampung Pandan Sports Complex on Wednesday (July 7), has a tall order after only managing to clear 2.10m, his season best set at the Qosanov Memorial Athletics Championships in Kazakhstan, recently.
With about two weeks left before departure for the biggest sports showdown in the world, Hup Wei is hoping to improve to better than his personal best of 2.29m at the Tokyo Games, where high jump qualifications are scheduled for July 30.
“This final two weeks is crucial for me to polish my techniques and be at my best to compete in the Tokyo Olympics. Once my quarantine ends, I will immediately return to Bukit Jalil (Sports Complex) and start to work on it with my coach (Aleksandar Gasparyan).
“I was able to jump 2.20m during training in Kazakhstan, but had to stop competing after sustaining an ankle injury. Now the injury has healed, so I hope to do my best in Tokyo,” he told Bernama when contacted.
The 2007 Asian champion qualified for Tokyo 2020 after being placed 23rd in the World Athletics rankings with 1,235 points, to make it possible to have a Malaysian representative in the men’s high jump event for the fourth consecutive time in the Olympics since Beijing 2008.
At the 2008 Beijing Games, Hup Wei finished in 32nd place after reaching  2.20m, while at the 2012 Games, the Kajang-born settled in 27th place after a 2.16m jump.
The three-time SEA Games champion carved history as the first Malaysian athlete to reach the finals of the prestigious World Athletics Championships in 2019 at the Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar where he advanced to the finals and setting his new personal best of 2.29m.
Hup Wei finished eighth among the 12 finalists in the world meet.

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